Ex-EC chairman disputes claim Selangor voters’ data destroyed

Abdul-Rashid-Abdul-Rahman-Election-Commission-court-1KUALA LUMPUR: A former Election Commission (EC) chairman is disputing the present EC’s stand that data on the addresses of 136,272 voters requested by the Selangor government have been destroyed.

Abdul Rashid Abdul Rahman said as an institution in charge of the integrity and transparency of the electoral process, the EC had an administrative duty to keep the addresses of voters.

“I am, therefore, shocked that the respondents (EC) have claimed the addresses of voters have been destroyed and that they are not relevant in the delimitation process,” he said in an affidavit filed for the Selangor government which seeks to nullify the EC’s notice of redelineation.

The state government, in its suit filed last year, is claiming the EC violated the Federal Constitution in its exercise of drawing new electoral boundaries.

The state government and the EC had gone to the Court of Appeal to appeal over a discovery application, which included information about the 136,272 voters.

The Court of Appeal, on July 20, allowed the EC’s appeal that it was not required to provide the state government the locality code and names of 136,272 voters used in the 1994 and 2003 delineation exercises.

The Federal Court last month also dismissed the state’s appeal over the EC’s refusal to provide the information.

At the Court of Appeal, government lawyer Amarjeet Singh told the bench that the data sought by the state from the EC had been destroyed.

He said every government department did not keep records after seven years.

“The 1993 and 2004 electoral rolls information is not there by operation of law,” he said.

That ruling has now handicapped the state in proving its case that the EC was carrying out gerrymandering and malapportionment to keep certain parties in power.

Rashid’ s affidavit was read in court today by lawyer Ambiga Sreenevasan as the main hearing before High Court judge Azizul Azmi Adnan resumed after seven months.

Rashid, who was EC chairman from 2000 to 2008, said the destruction of any information relating to voters must be done with the approval of commissioners.

“As secretary and chairman, I never approved, neither was I aware of any request for the destruction of addresses of voters,” said Rashid ,who was EC secretary from 1979 to 1995.

Throughout his tenure with the EC, Rashid said, he oversaw three delineation exercises, including the ones in 1994 and 2003.

“I am also well aware of the administration and the internal policies of the EC,” said Rashid who is now a PPBM vice-president.

Rashid said the claim made by the EC was highly questionable and there had been a lack of candour and transparency.

“As a former chairman of the EC, I would expect the respondents to assist the court to serve the interest of justice,” he said.