KUALA LUMPUR, March 26 — The prime minister must allow the parliamentary panel on electoral reform to finish its work before calling polls, former Umno leader Tan Sri Abdul Kadir Sheikh Fadzir said today.
Abdul Kadir (picture), who quit Umno last week, cautioned that voters were savvier now and any attempt to hold elections before the select committee’s proposals were implemented would be perceived negatively by the public.
“The people know what is a clean and fair elections... If you hold elections before the select committee has done its job, then it’s just a drama.
“Let them finish the work. The people now are quick to catch these things. Don’t take the people for granted,” Abdul Kadir told reporters at his office in the Mines Business Park here.
Abdul Kadir quit as an Umno member last Monday, two months after accusing the ruling party of practising vote-buying.
The former party supreme council member made headlines in January when he accused Umno of handing out RM200 to RM1,000 to voters in previous elections in exchange for votes.
He has denied using the “bomb” strategy to win elections in Kulim-Bandar Baharu, where he was MP for 30 years until 2008.
Abdul Kadir’s call today echoes those made last week by electoral watchdog Bersih, which demanded that polls be held only after all of its eight demands for free and fair elections are fulfilled by government.
Bersih chairman Datuk S. Ambiga said many of the demands would take only months to implement and expressed her disappointment at the slow progress made by the Parliamentary Select Committee on electoral reform.
The bipartisan panel was set up last year to address concerns over the country’s electoral system after the Najib administration drew international condemnation for its handling of the Bersih 2.0 rally.
Tens of thousands took to the streets on July 9 last year to join the rally for free and fair elections but were dispersed by police in chaotic scenes that saw over 1,500 arrested, scores injured and the death of an ex-soldier.
Under pressure, the government then promised a slew of reform measures, which included the formation of the select committee and the enactment of the highly-criticised Peaceful Assembly Act last year
Bersih warned last week it may hold a third mass rally due to lagging electoral reforms and more reports of polls fraud recently.