Saturday, April 12, 2008

ACA to adopt intelligence-based investigation method

PUTRAJAYA: The Anti-Corruption Agency hopes to adopt the “intelligence-based investigations” approach with the aim of being more effective in the criminal justice system.
ACA deputy director-general I Datuk Abu Kassim Mohamed said the approach had been successfully adopted in several countries.
“We have to go beyond our current method of investigation and adopt this new approach, where the information is gathered and placed in a systematic manner,” he said, declining to elaborate on the details.
Abu Kassim said previously, the agency relied on the public to lodge a report before commencing investigations, while some people had volunteered information but refused to go to court.
“We took this into consideration and began exploring other methods on how ACA could revise our work culture so that corruption can be identified more easily and the offender brought to court,” he said.
On the new form for ministers and deputy ministers to declare their assets, Abu Kassim said various format had been looked into and the best option would be presented to the Prime Minister by the end of the month.
“We have already completed it and it requires some fine tuning,” he said.
Last week Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said he had directed ACA to find out the practice of asset declaration in other countries to ensure Malaysia could come up with a proper way of doing it.
On the public perception towards the judiciary, Abu Kassim said many judges were of high integrity but several incidents might have created a negative view of the judiciary.
Overall, he said, the judiciary ranked quite high in the Corruption Perception Index (CPI) by Transparency International between 2005 and 2007 compared to several other countries.

Karpal: Make it easier for converts to renounce Islam

PETALING JAYA: Converts who want to renounce Islam should be given an easier course of action in the process, says lawyer Karpal Singh.
He said in a statement that while he lauded the Government’s move to introduce new regulations for those wanting to convert to Islam, it was more important to address this issue.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi announced yesterday a regulation requiring non-Muslims wishing to convert to Islam to inform their family first, so as to prevent any disputes when they died.
Karpal Singh said that no obstacle should be placed in the way of Muslim converts who wished to return to their original religion.
“As the position stands, converts are required to resort to the Syariah Court to renounce Islam, and are further required to undergo rehabilitation,” he said.
He called for the Government to relax the requirements of this move, adding that that there was considerable concern and disquiet among converts on the issue.
The Star

Thursday, February 14, 2008


The 13-day campaign period for the general election is adequate for all the political parties contesting in the polls, Election Commission chairman Tan Sri Abdul Rashid Abdul Rahman said today.

He said the commission took into account internal security and public order when deciding on the campaign period.

He said there are 30 registered political parties in the country.

“If we were to extend the campaign period, there are many sensitive issues in the country which may be manipulated by the parties (to whip up support),” he told a press conference called to announce the nomination and polling dates for the general election.

Polling is on March 8 and nomination on Feb 24, providing 13 days for political parties to campaign, an additional five days compared to only eight days in the 2004 general election, .

A total of 10,922,139 electorate, including 221,085 postal voters, are eligible to exercise their electoral rights to elect their representatives for the 222 parliamentary and 505 state seats except for the 71 state seats in Sarawak.

The Sarawak state election was held on May 20, 2006. The state assembly’s five-year mandate will only lapse in 2011.

Abdul Rashid said about 600,000 additional voters are eligible to vote in this election from the 10.3 million in the last election.

He said the commission had been officially informed by Istana Negara that the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin, gave royal assent to the dissolution of Parliament yesterday.

The commission had also received the notices of dissolution of the state assemblies except for the Sarawak state assembly, he said.

Following the dissolutions, the commission met today to decide on the nomination and polling dates for the general election which must be held within 60 days from the date of dissolution of the Parliament as stipulated under Article 55(4) of the Federal Constitution.

Abdul Rashid said the commission will tomorrow issue the election writ to the returning officers in all the 222 parliamentary constituencies.

The notice for the election will be issued on Saturday, he said.

Abdul Rashid hoped that more than 75 per cent of the electorate would exercise their electoral rights in this election to elect the government and their elected representatives as the polling date falls on a Saturday, a weekend holiday for civil servants and the start of the first-term school holidays.

Abdul Rashid said he hoped to conduct the election fairly and openly, taking into account the security factor.

“We want to continue to maintain the clean, fair and peaceful election record of this country as in the past 11 general elections,” he said.

He said the commission will spend RM200 million for the election, deploying 149,000 staff and 50,000 casual staff including helicopter pilots and boat navigators.

Transparent and durable plastic ballot boxes, indelible ink and ballot papers without serial numbers would be used in this election, he said.

Abdul Rashid said voting secrecy was guaranteed without the voter serial numbers on ballot papers as was implemented in the Sarawak state election in 2006.

“Nobody will know whom you have voted for,” he said.

He said no election observers from foreign countries have been invited to monitor the election process as the commission had no powers to issue accreditation to them.

On allegations of phantom voters, Abdul Rashid said: “It’s impossible that names of people not listed in the electoral roll can vote. If there are claims, show me the proof and we will investigate. So far, there are no phantom voters.”

Abdul Rashid said the commission would soon issue guidelines on the do’s and don’ts for the election campaign.

He urged political parties, candidates and individuals involved in the election to observe the election rules and campaign ethics and new procedures to be announced from time to time.

The new Straits Times

Malaysians Go To The Polls On March 8

POLLING DATE… Election Commission Chairman Tan Sri Abdul Rashid Abdul Rahman stressing a point at a press conference to announce the nomination and election dates. Polling for election will be held on March 8 and nominations on Feb 24. Pix: Mahayudin Mohamad

PUTRAJAYA, Feb 14 (Bernama) -- Polling for the general election will be held on March 8 and nominations on Feb 24, the Election Commission (EC) announced today.

EC chairman Tan Sri Abdul Rashid Abdul Rahman said the election would involve 222 parliamentary and 505 state seats in 12 states except for Sarawak which held its state election in 2006.

He said 10,922,139 were eligible to cast their votes based on the electoral roll gazetted on Feb 5.

Abdul Rashid made the announcement at the EC headquarters here at 11.40am. The announcement was carried live by RTM dan TV3.