By Mat Zain Ibrahim
The South African Institute for Race Relations report says are 42,000 people over the age of 100 and some over 120 years old found in the voters roll of Zimbabwe.
This is a country with a life expectancy of 43 years.
But still Tobaiwa Mudede, the equivalent of Malaysia's Election Commission (EC) chairman, claims that no fraud have ever been practiced in preparing Zimbabwe's electoral roll.
In comparision, at the Sabah RCI on illegal immigrants, a former NRD officer Mohd Nasir Sugip, revealed in ‘Ops Durian Buruk' he and others processed some 40,000 application forms for blue identity cards which signify Malaysian citizenship.
These were meant to be distributed to immigrants in Sabah believed to be in exchange for votes.
They were based in the house of Abdul Aziz Shamsuddin, the then political secretary to then premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad (right).
Yet, our EC chairman in April 2012, claimed that "no other country in the world has a cleaner electoral roll than ours".
The most prevalent issues in Zimbabwe's electoral roll are the issuance of instant or faked personal identification papers and fictitious addresses.
We are facing exactly the same problem.
Similar game plan
Mudede is believed to have started his shenanigans sometime in 1980.
From the revelations made during the Sabah RCI we can say that the game here started about the same time or slightly earlier and came to its peak in the 1990s during Ops Durian Buruk.
I do not know if it was our EC which copied Mudede's methods or the other way round, or both coincidentally shared the same ideas.
However if the Zimbabweans could still get together to challenge Mudede's roll in spite of them having to face more dangerous and threatening circumstances than what we face, we should be able to do better if we all challenge the EC's roll together.
I last week suggested that the Selangor state government take up the task by challenging the gazette instead of challenging the roll head-on.
Silence of the IGP
I am really puzzled as to how the inspector-general of police (IGP) has been able to remain silent without stating his position since the start of the Sabah RCI more than two weeks ago.
The issue has escalated into a personal vendetta between Mahathir and Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim since two days ago.
Although Mahathir and Anwar (left) have both declared their willingness to testify before the RCI if called, it must be made clear that their testimonies will not bring any changes to the already tainted electoral roll.
The IGP and attorney general Gani Patail in particular must be bold and frank enough to explain to citizens that evidence given by witnesses in a RCI, is not admissible in any civil or criminal proceedings whatsoever against the person who gave the evidence, except when the person is charged with giving false evidence. That's all. (Section 11 RCI Act 1950).
The RCI chairman is not like a judge who is empowered to pronounce a verdict whether a person is guilty of an offence or not.
Nor can the chairman decide to institute, conduct or discontinue a criminal proceedings like an AG can.
Citizens at the moment seem to have high expectations that action will be taken against those perpetrators or masterminds once the RCI concludes its enquiry.
The citizens must be told of the RCI's actual mechanism. They should not continuously be deceived nor given false hopes like what Gani Patail (right) did a couple of days ago saying that he will do something when the RCI is concluded, especially so since Sabah is his home state.
Gani should inform the rakyat that even he as the AG cannot charge a person for any criminal offence based solely on a RCI report.
He has to rely on an investigation papers put up by a proper investigative body such as the police or the MACC depending on the nature and classification of the crimes committed and the laws applied.
Both Gani and I have gone through this process before in the 1998 ‘black-eye' incident involving Anwar and then IGP Rahim Noor (left).
Even though the former IGP's admission was recorded during the RCI established to investigate that incident, the AG had to rely on my investigation papers and what I had recommended when charging Rahim Noor.
It was not based on the RCI final report or its recommendations.
That's the reason why I am harping on the IGP to commence investigations right away and not wait for the completion of the Sabah RCI before deciding on his next course of action.
I am making this suggestion based on my experiences and the laws and not at my whim and fancy.
Dr M and Anwar can volunteer
As for Mahathir and Anwar, who are in some ways implicated in the Projek IC, both of them are entitled to be represented by their own advocates at the inquiry after getting leave from the commissioners. Both Mahathir and Anwar do not have to wait to be called. They can take their own initiatives to appear before the RCI. This is provided for under Section 18 of the RCI Act 1950.
I am sure both of them are familiar with this rule, especially since both had been involved in some way in the black eye incident RCI.
There's no need for either of them to declare their willingness to testify at the Sabah RCI through the press only. If they are sincere and have nothing to hide, or if they are not involved at all, then they should put in their bid to be represented at the RCI at the next hearing date.
They can also apply to have their testimonies given through a statutory declaration. That method is easier. There are many ways to do it, if they really want it done.
MAT ZAIN IBRAHIM is former chief of Kuala Lumpur Criminal Investigation Department.
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