Electoral Reform Committee proposes proportionate representation system for parliamentary seats

Electoral Reform Committee (ERC) chairman Tan Sri Abdul Rashid Abdul Rahman said the proportionate representation system was seen as an improvement to the existing ‘first-past-the-post’ system (FPTP). ― Picture by Abdul Razak Ghazali
Electoral Reform Committee (ERC) chairman Tan Sri Abdul Rashid Abdul Rahman said the proportionate representation system was seen as an improvement to the existing ‘first-past-the-post’ system (FPTP). ― Picture by Abdul Razak Ghazali

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 2 — The Electoral Reform Committee (ERC) proposes that the proportionate representation system be adopted in the Malaysian electoral system for parliamentary seats, like in some Commonwealth countries.

ERC Chairman Tan Sri Abdul Rashid Abdul Rahman said the system was seen as an improvement to the existing ‘first-past-the-post’ system (FPTP).

“If we change the system to another system such as the proportionate representation system, the voters will not vote for the candidate, they will vote for the party. The party will then select the person who will represent it.

“However, the ERC thinks the FPTP needs to be maintained at least for the state elections as state assemblymen have close ties with the voters,” he told a press conference after an open-door engagement programme with about 90 political parties here today.

The ERC was established in August 2018 and has been given two years to submit a comprehensive report containing electoral reform proposals including systems, processes and legal amendments.

In another development, Abdul Rashid said that the registration and regulation of political parties should be managed by the Election Commission (EC) rather than the Registrar of Societies (RoS) to ensure transparency.

He said this was because the EC was an independent body that was not controlled by any political party, compared to RoS, which is a government department under the Home Ministry.

Currently, the ERC is preparing a report on the proposal for submission to the government.

On redelineation of electoral boundaries, Abdul Rashid said a special commission for that purpose should be set up to reduce the workload of the EC, enabling it to focus on its main role of conducting the elections.

The ERC is in the process of holding nationwide engagement sessions to get feedback from the people on election matters in Malaysia.

The ERC had also held discussions with various parties to coordinate policy and technical issues related to elections as well as conduct comparative studies of the electoral performance of other countries such as the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, Germany and Australia. — Bernama

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