WE, the members of G25 Malaysia, agree with Bersih 2.0’s March 6 statement calling for support for the Election Commission (EC) against the statement by the former EC deputy chairman Datuk Wan Ahmad Wan Omar for the current chairman, Datuk Azhar Azizan Harun, and the other EC commissioners to resign merely because of the change in government. Since Azhar’s appointment in 2018, the EC’s good name has been lifted through the reforms and actions the commissioners have taken, including those in the nation’s by-elections. They have instilled a good sense of transparency, integrity and accountability in the electoral process.
Under the current EC, the public feel comfortable that our voices are being heard and our concerns addressed when it comes to electoral reforms. G25 was also impressed during our previous meeting with the EC chairman who told us that his team was working in close consultation with the Electoral Reform Committee (ERC) to propose the structural changes for creating a fair and equitable electoral system. This is important for making elections a meaningful process in our democracy.
It would be a great loss and injustice to the people should the current commissioners resign now. Malaysia is in a stage of political and economic uncertainty. To maintain stability in the country, independent democratic institutions like the EC need to continue functioning with good leaders like Azhar no matter the political climate.
We hope that under the new government, there will be no interference in the independence of institutions set up under the powers of the Federal Constitution. Those appointed to serve on regulatory agencies such as the EC must be allowed to complete their term as they derive their authority not from the Prime Minister or his Cabinet but from the Yang di-Pertuan Agong.
The intention behind this constitutional provision is to ensure that the members of the Election Commission are free to perform their duties of conducting the national and state elections without fear of or favour to any political interests.
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