More commissions for the election process

THE Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (Bersih 2.0) proposes that the electoral management body in Malaysia be split into three commissions with different jurisdictions and autonomies. This is so that electoral management can be implemented more efficiently, effectively and independently.

Currently, the Election Commission (EC) bears all the workload of the electoral conduct, such as voter registration, constituency delimitation, as well as the conduct of elections, such as nomination and enforcement of the Election Offences Act with assistance from other agencies such as the Royal Malaysian Police.

This proposal is made based on a research report entitled Three Is Better Than One: Institutional Reforms for Electoral Management in Malaysia. This study was conducted by Chan Tsu Chong and commissioned by Bersih 2.0.

The three proposed commissions should be:

1) Election Commission (EC) – The commission maintains the responsibility for the conduct of election processes, such as voters’ registration, nomination, polling, vote counting and tabulation, and announcement of election results.

2) Election Enforcement Commission (EEC) – This commission’s responsibility would be to monitor and ensure compliance with all election-related laws, including the Elections Act 1958 and the Election Offences Act 1954. The EEC would also be responsible for regulating political parties’ registration, political financing and reporting requirements. The EEC would have the power to investigate and issue warrants and summons for suspects and witnesses. This commission can also set up an Electoral Tribunal to receive complaints and conduct investigations.

This Commission should consist of the Inspector-General of Police, the Chief Commissioner of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commi-ssion, the Attorney General and four other members appointed based on expertise. Of these four, two should be appointed from civil society organisations.

3) Electoral Boundaries Commission (EBC) – This commission should be established on an ad-hoc basis when there is a need for a re-delineation exercise according to the provisions of the Thirteenth Schedule of the Federal Constitution. We propose that the Thirteenth Schedule be amended to give the EBC the final authority to approve the delineation proposal.

The EBC must consist of a Federal Court judge, a member of the EC, a member of the EEC, the director-general of the Survey and Mapping Department, the Chief Statistician and two individuals with appropriate valid qualifications and at least 10 years experience in elections, statistics and geography.

Bersih 2.0 proposes that these three commissions be completely independent of the Executive branch of the government as well as the civil service, and that all these commissions should be monitored by and report to a Parlia-mentary Select Committee (PSC) on electoral matters in Parliament.

For the nomination of candidates who are eligible to be members of these commissions, Bersih 2.0 proposes that an Electoral Commission Nomination Committee be formed to shortlist candidates who are competent to be presented to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, who will appoint the members of these commissions.

The Nomination Committee should consist of the Prime Minister, the Opposition leader, the chairman and a ranking member of the PSC on electoral matters, the Chief Justice, the chairman of the Human Rights Commission, the president of the Bar Council and a member of a civil society organisation.

Bersih 2.0 believes electoral and institutional reform is crucial, and this should happen by reforming the electoral management body

so that it is seen as transparent, efficient and has the public’s support to conduct elections. The confidence of the people is highly dependent on the transparency of the election process and if there are sufficient institutional checks and balances to the electoral management body.


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