Want clean elections? Reform EC’s leadership first, says group

Bersih 2.0 acting chairman, Shahrul Aman, speaks during the launch of the Election Observation Report of the 14th General Election in Kuala Lumpur July 13, 2018. — Picture by Miera Zulyana
Bersih 2.0 acting chairman, Shahrul Aman, speaks during the launch of the Election Observation Report of the 14th General Election in Kuala Lumpur July 13, 2018. — Picture by Miera Zulyana

KUALA LUMPUR, July 13 — Reforming the Election Commission (EC) should be a priority if the new government wants a clean and fair electoral process in the future, Pemantau GE14 said today.

Pemantau GE14 is jointly organised by rights groups consisting of Bersih 2.0, Popular Communications Centre for Human Rights (Pusat KOMAS) and Suara Rakyat Malaysia (Suaram).

Bersih 2.0 acting chairman Shahrul Aman said Pemantau recommended that the current EC commissioners resign or be removed, in accordance with the Federal Constitution by a way of a Tribunal.

“For the new commissioners, we hope the appointments will go through a reformed appointment process.

This is nothing personal. We just want a responsible leadership in the system,” he told reporters after the official launch of the Election Observation Report of the 14th General Election.

Shahrul said the reason they wanted the new government to review the Pemantau report was so that it could hold clean and fair elections in the future.

“We hope for the rakyat’s power to choose the right leadership that can deliver and benefit the country as a whole.

“We don’t have any political interest here. We just want what’s best for the rakyat. When the system is reformed, InsyaAllah we can have a clean and develop country,” he added.

Another recommendation in the short term period proposed by Pemantau was to make the EC accountable to Parliament and report to a parliamentary committee on elections.

The report also suggested amending or repealing Section 5 of the Election Commission Act to prevent hidden interference by the government into the work of the EC.

Section 5 consists of certain communications to be privileged, where anyone in any legal proceedings is not permitted to disclose any communication that has taken place between the EC and the government.

Other than the EC, Pemantau suggested establishing an Independent Boundaries Commission, an expert body that is separated from the EC to carry out redelineation exercises.

Pemantau is seeking to strengthen laws relating to corrupt practices in elections to prevent any handouts by political parties and candidates after the dissolution of Parliament.

There are 20 other recommendations in the report proposal, including the electoral roll, media, political parties, conduct of elections, election observations and more.

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