Appointment of new Electoral Commission chairman marks hopeful beginning for electoral reform

3
119
Electoral Commission chairman Art Harun - Graphic: syariman/Malaysiakini

The Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (Bersih 2.0) applauds the appointment of Azhar Azizan @ Harun as the new chairman of the Electoral Commission.

We strongly believe his appointment enjoys public confidence in line with Article 114 of the Federal Constitution, and he will be able to initiate much-needed reforms in the electoral system.

Azhar Azizan is a senior lawyer who has a lot of experience and expertise in dealing with election cases. He fulfils the criteria outlined by Bersih 2.0 on integrity, impartiality and independence with proven knowledge, experience and expertise on electoral system.

We welcome the openness of the new government in listening to the voices and recommendations of civil society in the appointment of the new Electoral chairman.

This lays a good foundation for the collaboration between the new government and civil society on the reform of the electoral system.

While the appointment process of Azhar Azizan has not complied with the manifesto of Pakatan Harapan to go through Parliament or the selection processes as proposed by Bersih 2.0, we also acknowledge that such processes to ensure the permanent independence of the Electoral Commission would require a constitutional amendment.

Such constitutional amendments would need the support of two thirds of parliamentarians and would take considerable time. Electoral reform cannot wait in view of three by-elections that have come and gone and another pending in Port Dickson.

READ MORE:  Keputusan peguam negara tepat dalam tidak mewakili Suruhanjaya Pilihan Raya

Bersih 2.0 therefore calls on the other six commissioners to be replaced immediately for their failure to uphold and defend the principles of clean, free and fair elections in the 2018 general election. Once the six current commissioners are replaced, a new appointment process for commissioners should be put in place to ensure transparency and accountability.

This should include the establishment of an electoral commission nomination committee, consisting of representatives from the three branches of government, statutory bodies and civil society representatives to receive and screen applicants to ensure the best candidates are appointed to the job, as outlined in Bersih 2.0’s memorandum to the Institutional Reform Committee. (http://www.bersih.org/wp-content/bothuploads/2018/05/Action-Plan-100-Days.pdf)

Bersih 2.0 urges the new government to table constitutional amendments to the appointment process of commissioners in the next parliamentary sitting and calls on all members of Parliament from both the ruling and opposition parties to support such constitutional amendments.

It is also crucial for the Pakatan Harapan government to establish a parliamentary select committee on elections and political parties immediately, which should work with the Electoral Commission and the new Electoral Reform Committee to forge cross-party consensus on the new regime for appointments.

Bersih 2.0 stands ready to extend our cooperation, assistance and support to the new Electoral Commission chairman.

Bersih 2.0 steering committee

Thanks for dropping by! Apart from the views expressed in Aliran's media statements and the NGO statements we have endorsed, the opinions in other pieces published here do not necessarily reflect Aliran's official position.

Our voluntary writers work hard to keep these articles free for all to read. But we do need funds to support our struggle for Justice, Freedom and Solidarity. To maintain our editorial independence, we do not carry any advertisements; nor do we accept funding from dubious sources. If everyone reading this was to make a donation, our fundraising target for the year would be achieved within a week. So please consider making a donation of whatever amount you can afford to sustain Aliran. Please make payments to Persatuan Aliran Kesedaran Negara, CIMB Bank account number 8004240948.

And why not become an Aliran member or subscribe to our FREE newsletters.

3
Join the conversation

avatar
750
3 Comment threads
0 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
3 Comment authors
Ho HeeRichard Ng Ting WoongBarbara Ford Recent comment authors
  Subscribe  
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
Ho Hee

Good news indeed. Put the right people at the right position and move in the right direction. Malaysia Baru!

Richard Ng Ting Woong

My friend ,pls clean the whole s… created by the previous BN corrupted government. We give our support

Barbara Ford

Especially to get rid of the gerrymandering that has accrued across Malaysia constituencies!