Saturday, May 4, 2013

Explain chartered flights, Bersih tells Najib

Alyaa Azhar

May 3, 2013
The caretaker prime minister should provide evidence that will prove the emails from the two airline companies implicating the Prime Minister Office is not true, urges Bersih.
PETALING JAYA: Bersih today demanded caretaker prime minister Najib Tun Razak to explain the transportation of East Malaysians via chartered flights to various locations in West Malaysia.
“We demand a public explanation from the caretaker prime minister with evidence that will prove the emails from the two airline companies implicating the Prime Minister’s Office is not true,” said Bersih Special Committee on Code of Conduct co-chair Irene Fernandez at a press conference here.
Recently, there have been reports on the moving of large number of foreign workers or Malaysians from Sabah and Sarawak via chartered flights by Malaysian Airlines and Air Asia.
Fernandez stressed that a simple denial and silence would not be enough to restore public confidence in the caretaker government.
Bersih co-chairperson S Ambiga, who was also present, said that it is a deliberate operation, putting the people involved at certain places and transporting them using government vehicles.
“If they are really going back home to vote, why are they being herded to specific locations in big numbers and not sent to their respective homes?
“[Umno secretary-general]Tengku Adnan Mansor said that they are brought by BN’s friends who are bringing people from East Malaysia back home to vote. The question is, how many West Malaysians are living in East Malaysia and are coming back to vote?
“And how is the caretaker prime minister going to answer allegations that many from the flights are foreigners?” she queried.
Ambiga further stressed that Najib should explain who all these people really are.
“Explain where are they are voting, for example, to allay the fears of the people,” she said.
‘This is treason’
Fernandez said if this issue is in fact true, not only does this undermine the sovereignty of the country and the integrity of the election process, it is also a blatant abuse of power and machinery of the caretaker government.
“This is treason,” added Ambiga. “If foreigners are given ICs to vote, it is effectively an attempt to steal the election away from the rakyat.”
With regard to the indelible ink fiasco, Bersih steering committee member Maria Chin Abdullah said that the Election Commission’s guidelines to polling workers should be made public.
“We have called for the EC to release the guidelines to the public so that we can ensure the polling workers will shake the bottles beforehand on polling day,” she said.
Fernandez also claimed that the guidelines of a caretaker government’s role and responsibility have not been taken seriously at all.
“The caretaker prime minister has made one after another announcement related to budget allocations and policy decisions when he is only the caretaker prime minister.
“The caretaker government has no right to give out direct allocations or cash promises as it constitutes vote buying.
“The campaign should focus on the respective manifestos and policies that will bring about a better quality of life for the rakyat,” she stressed.
Najib has since announced the upgrade of status for the Han Chiang College to a University College, an allocation for a new campus for UITM, and the approval of branch campus for Ee Heng High School in Penang, among others.
In view of this, Fernandez said Najib has been placed on the blacklist with regard to the breach of the code of conduct.
Bersih also called on the police to beef up their efforts in a professional manner to ensure the safety and security of all voters, candidates and persons involved in the election.
The coalition for free and fair election cited the recent incident where a plastic bag containing pig’s blood and chicken head was thrown into the porch of PAS candidate Nasrudin Hassan’s house and the box of chicken heads sent to Penang BN state chief Teng Chang Yeow. Both incidents had threatening notes addressed to the respective individuals.
“There have also been various reports of candidates being harassed and party events being disrupted.
“While we are happy that the police are taking the issue seriously, we hope the warning from the police will be translated into swift action,” said Fernandez.
She also urged all voters to come out and vote on polling day without fear.
“We call on voters to reject dirty politics and political violence,” she said.
~ Free Malaysia Today

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