(Petaling Jaya, Sunday): The
Election Commission should set up
mechanisms to work closely with all
political parties on three
important issues to highlight its independent, non-partisan and non-subservient role to conduct free and fair elections as mandated by the
three issues are:
a six-month nation-wide operation to clean up the national electoral roll of
phantom voters so as to produce a clean and reliable electoral list.
the Election Amendment Bill passed by the Dewan Rakyat the previous week, the
compensation payable by a
complainant who lodges an objection without reasonable cause or good faith
over the insertion of a voter’s
name on the
electoral roll will be raised from
RM200 to RM1,000.
reflected a most perverted sense of priorities by Members of Parliament who voted
for the amendment bill, when the most
important and urgent challenge at the moment is to clean up the electoral roll
of its teeming phantom voters instead of making it a prohibitive
exercise for the public to come forward to complain about phantom voters who
neither reside nor work in the address given in the electoral register.
the new election amendment bill becomes law, which would make it too costly and
prohibitive for anyone to perform the public duty to draw the attention of the
Election Commission to the existence of any phantom voter, the Election
Commission should launch a six-month operation with the co-operation of all
political parties to clean up the electoral roll and to rid it of as many
phantom voters as possible.
the Election Commission should operate in an open and transparent manner in the
redelineation exercise for parliamentary and state assembly constituencies.
the recent Dewan Rakyat meeting, the Minister in the Prime Minister’s
Department, Tan Sri Bernard Dompok said the constituency redelineation exercise
would be completed within two years although the date for the start of exercise had not been determined yet.
is most unsatisfactory as well as
unfair, as it is an open secret that in previous constituency redelineation
exercises, the ruling Barisan
Nasional coalition parties in the various states were either closely involved or informed of the various stages of the
redelineation exercise, and were able to give inputs on the specific proposals
before draft proposals were made public by the Election Commission for public
inspection and inviting public representation.
Election Commission should not just allow the ruling Barisan Nasional component
parties access whether in terms of input or information during the constituency
redelineation exercise but must allow similar access to the Opposition parties -
and this is why the Election Commission should establish a liaison committee
with all political parties on this matter.
third election issue which the Election Commission should work with an all-party
group is the Election Offences (Amendment) Bill, which was not passed by the
recent Dewan Rakyat for lack of
time. The Election Offences
(Amendment) Bill contains provisions, particularly the “super sedition
offence” clause, which constitute grave threats to a healthy and vibrant
democratic system by making a free,
fair and clean elections in Malaysia an impossibility.
Election Commission should establish an all-party election laws review committee to give greater
in-depth study to the Election Offences (Amendment) Bill and election laws in
general to ensure that they do not
institutionalise and legalise electoral abuses and malpractices, particularly
money politics, or criminalise free
and fair election campaigning so as to restore public confidence that free, fair
and clean elections could be conducted in Malaysia.