PETALING JAYA: The Election Commission (EC) has to face the needs of a current, contemporary society and democratic values, said Global Movement of Moderates chief executive officer Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah.
He said that the demands of democracy in Malaysia were changing due to a variety of factors.
"There is the advent of information and communication technology and the new media.
“There is also the emergence of a new social consciousness and new social movements, and we are already moving into the third phase of democracy, and from a national context, people are becoming more educated, then comes the urban factor and thirdly, there is a strong and growing middle class," said Saifuddin.
Saifuddin, who spoke on Sunday via a pre-recorded video at the “Towards A Fairer Electoral System” forum organised by the Malaysian Bar Council, said a new grouping of Malaysians were emerging as a social force that could shape election outcomes.
"There is now a grouping of individuals who are not political party card-carrying members; they are independent and they are the young professionals, the educated, the technocrats, the entrepreneurs, academicians and activists.
“There was a time when they were quite small related to the numbers of the electorate, but the relationship now is about 30 percent of the electorate and the number is growing bigger," said Saifuddin.
He elaborated on the impact of this group, who he said gained force with the 12th General Elections in March 2008.
"This group consisted of individuals who may not have known or been in contact with each other. But starting with the 12th General Elections, they are contacting each other and sharing on social media, so they have an opinion of whom to vote on ballot day," said Saifuddin.