KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 14 — Election Commission (EC) chairman Azhar Azizan Harun has the authority to set the polling date for the Semenyih state by-election in the absence of the other commission members, it was stated today.
Six members of the commission, including its deputy chairman, resigned on Jan 1, and the posts have yet to be filled.
Azhar said a meeting is also not necessary in order to decide on the date and other crucial dates related to the by-election. The Semenyih by-election has been necessitated by the death of the assemblyman, Bakhtiar Mohd Nor of Bersatu, of a heart attack last Friday.
“No meeting is necessary. It is just that a decision has to be made. If the commission has other members, then, of course, the majority of the members must agree (on setting the date). But here, when we have just me, I will make the decision,” he told Bernama after appearing as a guest on the Bernama News Channel (BNC) live programme “The Nation” at Wisma Bernama, here.
The EC consists of seven members, namely a chairman, a deputy chairman and five members. The appointment of the members is made by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong on the advice of the Prime Minister.
Azhar said the functions of the commission would not be affected by the resignation of any of its members, as stipulated under the Federal Constitution.
He also confirmed that the EC was notified officially today by the Selangor state legislative assembly on the vacancy for the Semenyih seat, and added that a decision on the by-election was expected to be made by next week.
“We will have to make that decision not less than four days and not more than 10 days from today,” he said.
The by-election will be the sixth to be held since the 14th General Election on May 9 last year.
Azhar said the vacancies left by the six commission members would be filled soon.
“I am not involved in the process of the appointments, so I don't know the status. But I think it (proposal for the candidates) is being looked into. I am quite sure they will be appointed in no time,” he said.
Earlier, in the talk show, Azhar said the EC was looking into introducing the e-voting system in Malaysia, which he described as more cost-effective, efficient and foolproof.
However, he noted that the proposal would involve a lot of studies as well as other legal aspects, and it would not be implemented any time soon.
“Not in the next GE (general election) or even GE16,” he said. — Bernama