MALAYSIA Tanah Tumpah Darahku


Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Stop letting PM appoint EC officials, says commissioner


An Election Commission member says it should be given more power and autonomy to oversee the electoral process.

PETALING JAYA: An independent committee should be tasked with appointing election commissioners without the involvement of the executive.

Election Commission member Faisal Hazis suggested that the independent appointment committee be given full autonomy in processing and nominating the candidates for the EC commissioners’ posts.

He said this process should replace the functions of the prime minister, who usually nominated the commissioners.

Speaking at a forum hosted by Sinar Harian, titled “Forum Reformasi Pilihanraya – Ke Arah Mewakili Suara Sebenar Rakyat”, last night, Faisal suggested that the EC be given full power to carry out the redelination process.

He said it should also be given more financial autonomy, especially over matters such as hiring manpower to institutionalise the reforms promised by the government in lowering the voting age to 18 and automatic voter registration, as well as voter education activities.

He also said the EC should be empowered to enforce the Election Offences Act to reprimand offenders, a necessary step as the commission was often criticised as “toothless” when it came to addressing election offences.

Faisal said Parliament should be allowed greater involvement in overseeing the country’s electoral process.

“There should be a permanent or a Parliament select committee on electoral matters. This select committee can create its own department to audit the electoral processes, especially the voter rolls.

“It will answer to Parliament on election matters,” he said.

Speaking at the same forum, Petaling Jaya MP Maria Chin Abdullah stressed the need for the EC to be free from executive influence.

She also called for the redelination process to be reviewed as it was “too politically motivated”, and for the government to come up with a clear plan to prove its commitment to conduct free and fair elections.

“I hope the government will create a clear roadmap on creating free and fair elections, with all the early work to be outlined, from now till GE15,” she said.

Deputy minister in charge of legal and parliamentary affairs Mas Ermieyati Samsudin reiterated the government’s commitment to fast-tracking reforms like Undi18 and automatic voter registration, and introducing a Political Financing Act.

Asked about the government’s willingness to release the Electoral Reform Committee report, which had yet to be made public, Mas Ermieyati said former law minister Takiyuddin Hassan had given an assurance it would be presented and debated in Parliament.

The report, containing 49 recommendations on the overhaul of the electoral system, was submitted to then prime minister Muhyiddin Yassin in August last year. - FMT

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