Explain poor standing in clean elections global ranking, PKR tells EC

Election Commission chairman Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof hold a press conference at Dewan Majlis Daerah Besut. – Picture by Saw Siow Feng
Election Commission chairman Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof hold a press conference at Dewan Majlis Daerah Besut. – Picture by Saw Siow Feng

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 24 — The Election Commission (EC) must explain why Malaysia fared poorly in the Electoral Integrity Project’s latest survey, despite claiming to have one of the best election systems in the world, a PKR leader said today.

Party strategic director Sim Tze Tzin said Malaysia’s poor ranking - 114th out of 127 countries surveyed - points to obvious flaws in the country’s polling system and demanded the EC explain if this meant the so-called reforms it undertook recently had failed.

“In 2012, the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) on Electoral Reform had tabled comprehensive recommendations to improve elections here. So our standing should have improved if the EC actually carried out the reforms properly.

“So KeAdilan would like to ask if this meant the reform undertaken by the government, the PSC and the EC had failed or was not even carried out?” Sim asked in a press conference held at the party’s headquarters here.

The Bayan Baru MP noted that the EIP had highlighted complaints about gerrymandering of the country's electoral borders as among the key issues plaguing Malaysia's election system.

In that category, Malaysia scored a lowly 28 points out of 100.

Sim said reforming how the EC draws the boundaries was also one of the recommendations made by the PSC.

“The EC Chief should not just keep quiet about this. He must explain to the Speaker of the Dewan Rakyat and other MPs that approved of the PSC recommendations.

“We believe if the recommendations were actually implemented our standings won't be as poor,” he said.

In Election 2013, Barisan Nasional (BN) retained federal power by snapping up 133 seats against Pakatan Rakyat’s (PR) 89 seats despite losing the popular vote. Of the total number of votes cast, the ruling pact only scored 49 per cent to PR’s 51 per cent.

According to findings by Bersih 2.0’s People’s Tribunal, a panel set up by the polls watchdog to investigate alleged irregularities during the polls, a vote for BN was given 1.6 times the weightage given to a vote for PR.

The panel has proposed to minimise this disparity by amending laws on the criteria that determine the size of urban and rural constituencies.

But EC chairman Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusuf said the “one man one vote” concept recommended by the PSC in 2012 is not practical.

The former civil servant attributed it to the urban-rural population discrepancy, pointing out that there are far more people living in cities and towns than in the countryside.