Speech by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjung, Lim Kit Siang, at a Penang DAP political discussion held at Penang DAP headquarters at Lorong Kinta, Penang on Wednesday, 17th February 1993 at 8 p.m.
Datuk Harun Din should resign as Election Commission Chairman or he should be removed from this post as the first step to regain public confidence in the integrity and credibility of the Election Commission
`in the past two months, the country was plunged into a constitutional crisis over the Rulers’ immunity and the people’s demand that they should not be above the law to be at liberty to commit criminal or civil wrongdoings.
There had been increasing concern, however, that this principle of democratization and accountability should extend to all positions of privilege and power so that the removal of the Rulers’ immunity to commit wrongdoings would not lead to a situation where the government elite gain a new form of ‘immunity’ where they of not have to give any accountability for their wrongful actions.
The great political and constitutional scandal of the cancellation of the Election Commission exercise to review and redelineate the electoral constituencies has quickly put this concern to a test.
In countries where the government elite are not protected by an invisible ‘immunity’ where they could avoid full public accountability for their actions, the Elections Commission Chairman would have resigned or be removed from his post for such a colossal political and constitutional ineptitude and scandal.
Why did the Election Commission readily agree to pay for my legal costs if my legal suit had no connection with the cancellation of its review and redelineation or electoral constituencies
However, in Malaysia, the Election Commission Chairman, Datuj Harun Din tried to play down the enormity of the Election Commission scandal by claiming that it was caused by a “technical oversight”, and valiantly trying to be the ‘Ah Q of Malaysia’ when he claimed that the cancellation of the Election Commission review and redelineation of parliamentary and state assembly constituencies had nothing to do with my legal action against the Election Commission.
If Datuk Harun Din is right and truthful – that the cancellation of the Election Commission review of redelineation of parliamentary and state assembly constituencies had nothing to do with my legal action but because of other legal and constitutional reasons – then why did the Election Commission readily agreed to pay for my legal costs in the Kuala Lumpur High Court yesterday?
The readiness of the Election Commission to pay for my legal costs is not only an open and explicit admission of the rightness of my legal action against the Election Commission, but a surrender by the Election Commission to the DAP in our challenge against its unlawful and unconstitutional review and redelineation of the electoral constituencies.
Surely, if Datuk Harun Din really believes that the cancellation of the exercise and redelineate the electoral constituencies had nothing to do with my legal case, the Election Commission would have refused to pay costs, on the ground that my legal claims were not the cause of the cancellation of the review of the electoral constituencies.
However, the Election Commission did not even make an attempt in the Kuala Lumpur High Court yesterday, but simply surrendered both to my legal challenge and the demand that it pay my legal costs.
The reasons were very simple. In my statement of claim against the Election Commission challenging the legality and constitutionality of its review and redelineation of the electoral constituencies, I had submitted that the Election Commission had violated both Article 113(2) and Article 113(3A).
In his press conference yesterday, Datuk Harun Din had in fact admitted that the Election Commission had no legal or constitutional leg whatsoever to stand on to justify its review and redelineation of electoral constituencies – whether under Article 113(2) or Article 113(3A).
Over the years, the Election Commission had not been able to fully gain the confidence of all political parties and the people that it is an independent and impartial body, as intended by the Federal Constitution, entrusted with the duty to conduct fair, free and honest general elections in the country.
The reputation of the Election Commission had crashed to its lowest point in its history with the scandal of its constitutional review and redelineation of the electoral constituencies, and Datuk Harun Din should resign as Election Commission Chairman or be removed from this post so as to take the first step to regain public confidence in the credibility and integrity of the Election Commission.