KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 5 — Former Bersih 2.0 co-chairman Maria Chin Abdullah has urged Putrajaya to give a third of the new Election Commission (EC) committee slots to women.
Maria also backed a DAP MP’s call for the appointment of the remaining EC panel members to be done via a Parliamentary Select Committee.
The influential former polls watchdog leader, now a federal lawmaker herself, said the process must be done as soon as possible so reform can be undertaken immediately.
“Criteria must be clear, but the PSC must not wait until March but to work it out now — by end January as there’s much to do,” the Petaling Jaya MP told Malay Mail in a text message.
“Persons selected must not be party members, must be independent, professional, well versed with electoral reform and human rights standards and persons with integrity,” she added.
The Pakatan Harapan administration sacked all previous commissioners as part of its electoral reform drive.
All seven members were seen as Barisan Nasional allies, including its former chief commissioner who was a member of and a former private secretary to a top Umno leader.
One of PH’s key reform pledges was to neutralise the EC from partisanship.
It has since appointed and tasked reform-minded non-partisan lawyer Azhar Azizan @ Harun as the new chief commissioner to undertake the changes.
The remaining six commissioners have yet to be replaced.
Kota Melaka MP Khoo Poay Tiong earlier today suggested the vacancies in the EC be filled through the Parliament Select Committee on Major Public Appointments.
He said the current provision that accords the Yang di-Pertuan Agong power to appoint EC members on the advice from the prime minister and Cabinet was not a very robust or transparent process.
On Twitter, women activists voiced hope that the new EC line-up would also be made of women.
“Yes, agree that criteria must have at least 30 per cent women,” Maria said when asked to comment on the matter.