‘Election reforms won’t be done in time for GE15’

KUALA LUMPUR: Most of the recommendations by the Electoral Reform Committee (ERC) will not be carried out ahead of the 15th general election, says Tan Sri Ab Rashid Ab Rahman.

The ERC chairman noted that more than 30 of the 49 recommendations presented would take about three years before they were ready to be implemented, adding that it would be best not to rush any reforms.“The next election will take place within two years, so the implementation won’t happen in time for that.

“Furthermore, reforms cannot be hurried as they might cause confusion among the people, ” he said.

Ab Rashid said many democracies had taken time to reform their own electoral processes.

“Australia took 12 years while Indonesia has been working on its electoral reforms for 20 years and they are still not done, ” he said.

He said the government’s move to set up a special Cabinet committee to study ERC’s recommendations showed its commitment in reforming the voting system.

The committee is headed by International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Azmin Ali.

“We hope the government will try to make some arrangements for most, if not all of our recommendations, ” he added.

He said this after delivering his keynote address titled “Empowering civic and voter education: Hopes and challenges” at a seminar organised by Gagasan Minda Merdeka.

The ERC submitted its 49 recommendations to Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin in August.

Among the recommendations are new laws governing public funds, donations and private monies channelled into political parties as well as appointing international and local observers during elections.

Another recommendation is improving the postal voting system, which Ab Rashid said must be done conscientiously.

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