EC defends Lajim’s appointment as election observer in Sandakan

Lajim Ukin wearing an EC observer T-shirt and tag at the nomination centre in Sandakan.

KOTA KINABALU: The Election Commission (EC) today defended the decision to appoint a veteran politician as an election observer for nomination day in Sandakan last week, saying it was in line with the rules.

EC chairman Azhar Harun said Lajim Ukin was representing the Electoral Reform Committee, which is categorised as a qualified government agency, not any political party.

He said the EC had also prepared a letter for election observers to sign, comprising a vow for observers to adhere to while carrying out their duties.

He also said any individual or organisation who applied to become an observer would be evaluated according to the EC’s criteria.

“If they are found to have breached the terms, they can be dropped and blacklisted from being observers in future elections,” he said in a statement here today.

He was responding to electoral watchdog Bersih 2.0 on the EC’s grounds for allowing politicians to be made election observers.

Lajim, the former Parti Harapan Rakyat Sabah chief who defected to PPBM earlier this month, was photographed wearing an official EC T-shirt and observer tag at the nomination centre in Sandakan.

Bersih said the EC should explain how the observers were appointed and whether there had been a failure in SOP to screen applicants.

However, Azhar said the EC is always sensitive to issues concerning the appointment of election observers, brought by Bersih as well as other relevant bodies.

He said the EC would take the appropriate steps after obtaining feedback from the relevant parties, including reviewing the criteria for the appointment of election observers.