2 February 2012
EC Chairman and politicians do not understand either the Federal Constitution, election laws or the income tax laws.
BERSIH 2.0 is gravely concerned with the announcement made by the Election Commission (EC) where it grants voting rights ONLY to oversea Malaysians who pay taxes to Malaysia.
Many Malaysians who live in Malaysia do not pay tax as well. The EC and politicians like Chua Soi Lek have failed to realise that there are many Malaysians who live in Malaysia and they too do not pay income tax at all. Many retirees do not pay income tax, and those who earn less than RM2,500 a month do not pay any income tax. Are we going to exclude them as voters as well?
The announcement is misleading. It is misleading because under Paragraph 28 of the Sixth Schedule (Exempt From Tax) of the Income Tax Act, 1967, it states that:
“Income of any person for the basis year for a year of assessment derived from sources outside Malaysia and received in Malaysia” is exempted from income tax”.
The EC and politicians like Chua Soi Lek failed to understand that under the present tax system, overseas voters do not pay taxes, because income generated from overseas can be repatriated to Malaysia without having to pay a single sen in taxes. Through the double taxation agreement, the citizen would only pay the taxes in the country where they gain their income.
Relating voting right with payment of taxes is unconstitutional. The statement has unwittingly ignored the Federal Constitution that clearly spells out the eligibility of every citizen’s right to vote in any election, as long as they reside in their constituency or as “absent voter” if not a resident of his/her constituency. The recommendation made by the EC and politicians is clearly and unconstitutional attempt to disenfranchise those eligible to vote.
Such an announcement shows that the EC Chairman and politicians do not understand the Federal Constitution, election laws or income tax laws.
BERSIH 2.0 reiterates that the EC has only taken up 2 ½ demands out of the eight demands. EC lacks the will to implement BERSIH 2.0’s recommendations. As the constitutional institution that is supposed to manage electoral processes and uphold the rights of voters, the EC appears to be unwilling to fulfil its constitutional duties. BERSIH 2.0 reminds the EC that it is not answerable to any political master but to ALL citizens of Malaysia.
If the EC intends to gain the confidence of the people of Malaysia, it must stop hoodwinking the citizens and immediately start taking steps to bring about substantive reform to the electoral system to ensure free and fair elections in Malaysia.
Steering Committee, Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (BERSIH 2.0)
The Steering Committee of BERSIH 2.0 comprises:
Dato’ Ambiga Sreenevasan (co-Chairperson), Datuk A. Samad Said (co-Chairperson), Andrew Khoo, Ahmad Syukri Razab, Arul Prakkash, Arumugam K., Dr Farouk Musa, Liau Kok Fah, Maria Chin Abdullah, Richard Y W Yeoh, Dr Subramaniam Pillay, Dato’ Dr Toh Kin Woon, Dr Wong Chin Huat, Dato’ Yeo Yang Poh and Zaid Kamaruddin.