Bersih 2.0 urges Opposition to back reforms that will empower Election Commission

Bersih 2.0 urged the Opposition to support the EC to be a more independent, transparent and accountable institution that is not bound by the influence of the government of the day. — Picture by Hari Anggara
Bersih 2.0 urged the Opposition to support the EC to be a more independent, transparent and accountable institution that is not bound by the influence of the government of the day. — Picture by Hari Anggara

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 8 — The Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (Bersih 2.0) urged Opposition lawmakers today to support amendments to the law to empower the Election Commission (EC).

In a statement today, the steering committee of Bersih 2.0 said it agrees with PAS deputy president Datuk Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man who called for the EC to strictly monitor and enforce election laws, regulations and ethics.

However, Bersih 2.0 said that Opposition lawmakers should also support the EC to conduct investigations into election offences instead of relying on other enforcement agencies to do so.

“Based on Article 113 of the Federal Constitution, the EC is only allowed to conduct and administer electoral matters such as the registration of voters and preparing the electoral roll, conduct Parliamentary and State elections, and carry out delimitation exercise.

“The EC has to rely on the Police, the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) and the Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) to investigate election offences when complaints are lodged.

“Hence, Bersih 2.0 would like to call on all parties including Opposition parties, if they are serious and sincere, to support any amendments to the law that would empower the EC to conduct investigations into complaints of election offences and to bring charges against offenders,’’ said the statement.

Bersih 2.0 also urged the Opposition to support the EC to be a more independent, transparent and accountable institution that is not bound by the influence of the government of the day.

“Appointments of key public institutions such as the EC must be through a nomination committee that will receive nominations from all stakeholders including the public, who then shortlist suitably qualified candidates.

“The shortlisted candidates should then be submitted to the Parliament Select Committee (PSC) for Major Appointments who will look for the candidate that can command the confidence of the public before submitting it to the Prime Minister or even the King for the appointment.

“This process needs to be made part of the law to make the appointment process more transparent and constitutional,’’ said the statement.

Tuan Ibrahim’s comment came on the backdrop of the ongoing Kimanis by-election, where vote-buying and misuse of government machinery are purportedly taking place.

The by-election will see Umno’s Datuk Mohamad Alamin going up against Parti Warisan Sabah’s Datuk Karim Bujang, with January 18, 2020 set as polling day.

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