PUTRAJAYA (Dec 30): By Tim Leonard
On his second-last day as Election Commission (EC) chairman, Tan Sri Abdul Rashid Abdul Rahman today fired a parting shot at his critics, saying he plans to sue them for defamation for damaging his character.
Long the punching bag of the Opposition and election monitoring groups which alleged irregularities and unfair polls procedures, Abdul Rashid, 66, is getting his legal team prepared and will act once he retires tomorrow.
Speaking after officiating at a ground-breaking ceremony for the EC's new building in Precinct 2, he said his post-retirement plan was to pursue all those who had "assassinated his character" and defamed him. He said he refrained from suing the politicians when he was in office because he did not want to involve the EC in his personal problem.
"After retirement, I will be a free person and will take legal action against those who had said so many untruthful and bad things about me," said Abdul Rashid.
"They had assassinated my character many times," he said.
He has compiled a "list of people" whom he wants to sue, and they are all Opposition politicians.
Whilst declining to reveal their identities, he hinted that they could be Members of Parliament (MPs).
"If they are MPs, they can lose their seat if I win my suit against them.
"Their allegations against me are ridiculous because there is nothing I can do as it is the people who determine their fate ... not me, not the EC," said Abdul Rashid, adding that he had been attacked by the Opposition because Barisan Nasional won the elections.
"They (BN MPs) don't attack me ... that is why I am accused of being in cohort with the ruling party to ensure its victories (in general elections)".
He said he will be submitting evidence and information to his lawyers for the next course of action.
Abdul Rashid, who had served the EC for 25 years, had in past months made many "enemies". There was a public outcry, demanding his resignation for the indelible ink issue and two days before the March 8 general election, his house was splashed with red paint.
He came under fire from opposition politicians for announcing the EC's 11th hour decision to cancel the proposed use of indelible ink on voters' fingers on polling day to prevent multiple voting.
On his tenure as EC chairman, Abdul Rashid said he was happy to have served for 25 years. He repeated his call for election laws to be reviewed so that the EC has more clout and authority.
He said the EC should be given the power to spell out the do's and the don’ts of an election, instead of it being done by other authorities.
"With more power in the EC’s hand, we can strengthen the process for a free and fair election ... but this is not to say that our elections are not free and fair.
"They are, within the limits of the law," he said.
"Having served the commission as its secretary and later as chairman, I believe the EC has delivered fair, free and transparent elections," he said.
Home Ministry secretary-general Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof, 58, replaces Abdul Rashid.