Commission all for election improvements


  • Nation
  • Thursday, 23 Jan 2020

Election Commission chairman Datuk Azhar Azizan Harun received a Special Election Committee delegation visiting the commission in Putrajaya. The delegation was headed by its chairman Syed Ibrahim Syed Noh(left) and Leong Jee Keen(right) MOHD SAHAR MISNI/The Star

PUTRAJAYA: The Election Commission backs any plans to further improve the election process, even if it sees its role and functions diminished, says its chairman.

Datuk Azhar Azizan Harun said he was for anything that could improve things.

“If this can do the job (to improve), I am all for it, ” he told reporters after holding discussions with members of the parliamentary special select committee on elections led by Ledang MP Syed Ibrahim Syed Noh, and the special select committee on major public appointments led by Selayang MP William Leong, at the EC headquarters here yesterday.

Azhar was responding to a proposal by the Election Reform Committee for the EC to be restructured to become three entities with different job scopes and roles involving elections.

ERC chairman Tan Sri Ab Rashid Ab Rahman was quoted as saying that the EC be the body that enforces election laws while a new body known as Elections Malaysia be responsible for managing elections.

The ERC also proposed that a commission be set up to look into the process of redelineation.

On electronic voting or e-voting, Azhar said several concerns needed to be addressed before a decision to introduce this could be made, adding that the EC’s main concern was on how to convince voters that their choice of candidate would indeed get their vote.

“We need to see how we can satisfy voters’ concern that what they vote is put into the system.

“This is the difficult part.

“We need to be able to convince voters that when they vote for A, their vote will go to candidate A, ” he added.

He said that another issue which the commission needed to address was to secure the system from potential hacking, adding that views of experts would have to be considered.

Proponents of e-voting said millions could be saved on the printing of ballot papers and that it would also result in increased voter percentage, allow quicker checks for invalid or spoilt votes and for results to be known much earlier.

Among countries that have introduced e-voting, either in part or fully, are the United States, Australia, India, Belgium, Estonia, Mexico, Peru and the Philippines.

Azhar said for 2020, voter education will be EC’s top priority to engage with Form Four students so that they have a better understanding of the election process by having an election simulation for them.

“We had a trial run last year and it was well received.

“After that many schools wrote to us and wanted us to do it for them.

“We have a module ready and it will be made public so that nobody can allege that we are trying to indoctrinate students.

“We are not in the business of indoctrinating anyone... we want to educate, ” he said.

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