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SATURDAY, 25 JANUARY 2020

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Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Make Electoral Reform Committee report public, Bersih 2.0 urges Mahathir

The Electoral Reform Committee interim report contains 49 recommendations on electoral reform.
PETALING JAYA: Electoral watchdog Bersih 2.0 has called on Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad to make public the interim report presented to him by the Electoral Reform Committee (ERC) yesterday.
The report, which is based on 21 nationwide consultation workshops since the ERC was established in August 2018, contains 49 recommendations on electoral reform which range from election management bodies to fair and equal access to the media.
“We call on the prime minister to immediately make public the report in order for all stakeholders to have an opportunity to provide their inputs and comments before the submission of the ERC’s final report scheduled to be in August 2020,” said Bersih 2.0.
“In its manifesto for the 14th general election, Pakatan Harapan had promised to ensure transparency and robustness of our election system. This is the time for Pakatan Harapan to walk the talk and release the ERC interim report to the public without further delay,” it added.
Among the recommendations contained in the report are reforms to political financing, the election system and the delineation process and ensuring the integrity of electoral rolls and changing the first-past-the-post system. All of these, Bersih 2.0 stated, were of great importance to the public as they affected their right to having “clean, free and fair elections”.
As the government had chosen not to make public the reports of the Council of Eminent Persons and the Institutional Reform Committee (IRC), Bersih 2.0 said releasing the ERC interim report would go a long way in encouraging transparency as promised in Pakatan Harapan’s manifesto.
Stating it supported calls by civil society organisations for these two reports to be made public as well, Bersih 2.0 stressed that releasing the ERC interim report would “break the culture of keeping the public in the dark”.
“This should not be a feature of the new Malaysia promised by Pakatan Harapan,” said the electoral watchdog.
Bersih 2.0 also called on the ERC to embark on a second stage of public consultation from now until August 2020 with all stakeholders – including political parties from both sides of the political divide, civil society organisations, academicians and members of the public – before finalising the report.
However, it said, such a public engagement process without the full disclosure of the interim report would not be effective or democratic, but would instead create unnecessary distrust and derail the reform process. - FMT

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