Election Commission must spell out what are the electoral reforms based on Bersih 2.0’s Eight Demands which could be implemented immediately without waiting for PSC

The announcement by the Election Commission Chairman Tan Sri Aziz Yusof that all Malaysian registered voters residing overseas will soon be able to vote via post has reinforced the case that there are electoral reforms proposed in Bersih 2.0’s Eight Demands which could be implemented immediately, whether by way of new election by-laws or necessary legislative amendments for the Oct. 3 meeting of Parliament, without waiting for any parliamentary select committee.

The Election Commission must therefore spell out, clearly and unequivocally with no “ifs” and “buts”, what are the electoral reforms based on the Bersih 2.0 Eight Demands which could be implemented immediately without waiting for any parliamentary select committee and in time for the forthcoming general elections.

The demand that all Malaysian citizens living abroad should be able to exercise their right to vote is one of several reforms proposed by Bersih 2.0 on “postal ballot” reform. The question is why the Election Commission is still sitting on the other proposals for postal ballot reform.

The second of the Eight Demands of Bersih 2.0 on “Reform postal ballot” states:

“2. Reform postal ballot

“The current postal ballot system must be reformed to ensure that all citizens of Malaysia are able to exercise their right to vote. Postal ballot should not only be open for all Malaysian citizens living abroad, but also for those within the country who cannot be physically present in their voting constituency on polling day. Police, military and civil servants too must vote normally like other voters if not on duty on polling day.

“The postal ballot system must be transparent. Party agents should be allowed to monitor the entire process of postal voting.”

The Election Commission should state clearly whether it is prepared to accept these proposals for postal ballot reform which could be implemented without waiting for any parliamentary select committee, viz:

*Postal ballot should not only be open for all Malaysian citizens living abroad, but also for those within the country who cannot be physically present in their voting constituency on polling day – particularly Sabahans and Sarawakians working in Peninsular Malaysia outside their state.

*Police, military and civil servants must vote normally like other voters if not on duty on polling day.

*Party agents should be allowed to monitor the entire process of postal voting to ensure transparency.

The first of Bersih 2.0’s Eight Demands to “Clean the electoral roll” are also eminently implementable if the Election Commission is really independent, professional and has the constitutional integrity to ensure that the electoral system is free, fair and clean.
Bersih 2.0’s demand on a clean electoral roll states:

“1. Clean the electoral roll

“The electoral roll is marred with irregularities such as deceased persons and multiple persons registered under a single address or non-existent addresses. The electoral roll must be revised and updated to wipe out these ‘phantom voters’. The rakyat have a right to an electoral roll that is an accurate reflection of the voting population.

“In the longer term, BERSIH 2.0 also calls for the EC to implement an automated voter registration system upon eligibility to reduce irregularities.”

In fact, the onus is on the Election Commission as it reflects most adversely on its efficiency, independence, professionalism and integrity, why it is unable to take immediate action without waiting for any parliamentary select committee, to clean up the electoral roll to remove deceased persons, multiple voter registration under a single address on non-existent addresses, and phantom voters.

There is also no acceptable reason why the Election Commission has not been able to implement a system of automatic voter registration upon eligibility of voters.

Other examples of electoral reforms which could be implemented without waiting for any parliamentary select committee are proposals on the use of indelible ink and a minimum 21-day campaign period.

It is open secret that although the Constitution vests the Election Commission with the powers and responsibilities to conduct elections, it is not an unusual especially in recent decades for the Prime Minister who dissolves Parliament to also fix the date for polling for the general election – and subserviently complied with by the Election Commission.

This is most unconstitutional as it is the prerogative of the Election Commission to determine the nomination and polling dates of general elections.

Is the Election Commission prepared to re-assert its independence, professionalism and integrity without having to bow to the dictates of the ruling parties or the Prime Minister of the day in determining the dates for nomination and polling and the length of the campaign period for a general election?

Inter-related to this question is the concept of a “caretaker government” when Parliament is dissolved.

Is the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak, prepared to accept the concept of “caretaker government” and undertake that there would be no abuse of powers including misuse of public funds during the campaign period by a caretaker Prime Minister and caretaker government who should be be solely concerned with “day-to-day administration” between the period between dissolution of Parliament and establishment of a new government after general elections?

  1. #1 by boh-liao on Thursday, 25 August 2011 - 4:41 pm

    EC has 2 go 4 CLEANING lah, bersih lah sebelum dibersihkan

    Off topic: It’s dat time of the year again, University Rankings 2011

  2. #2 by boh-liao on Thursday, 25 August 2011 - 6:44 pm

    Follow what’s going on in our courts these days (eg, is Jab Kimia M’sia qualified 2 do DNA testing) n d con job 2 b executed by EC under d command of UmnoB/BN, what can we say?
    In d little red dot, it’s “MaJulah Singapura”
    In M’sia, truly Asia, it’s “MaLulah Malaysia
    R we proud of dis nation abt 2 celebrate its national day?

  3. #3 by monsterball on Thursday, 25 August 2011 - 8:23 pm

    It is the season to agree with all demands but non implemented yet.
    Signs that 13th GE is near..but some wish to delay.
    I will pay no attention to all the good news…as non of the pasty good news..such as getting rid of massive corruptions as promised by Najib were implemented.
    In fact in the by-elections…he encouraged corruptions openly.
    So…on the electoral rolls..we need to depend heavily on vast majority….bigger than 13th GE…to cast their votes against BN…to dwarf phantom votes..frauds and bribes.

  4. #4 by Loh on Thursday, 25 August 2011 - 8:53 pm

    Mahathir’s words
    Aug12 2011 Written by chedet
    ///1. Tan Sri Ramon Navaratnam is vehement that the New Economic Policy is the cause of poor inflow of Foreign Direct Investments here.

    2. One can fault the NEP for a lot of things but to blame it for the current slowdown in Foreign Direct Investments is not quite correct.

    3. There are of course some investors who were and are put off by the NEP and the abuses involving it. But FDI actually contributed much to Malaysia’s industrialisation. And this happened when the NEP was in full swing, in fact picked up during the time when the NEP was being implemented.///–Mamakthir

    FDI has come into the country while NEP has been in force since 1971, but that did not mean that NEP contributed to attracting FDI. The fact that some investors are put off by the NEP means that FDI would have been higher than it is, for whatever outside economic environment it might be at the material time. Thus Ramon Navaratnam is absolutely correct in his statement. That logic does not escape any primary student, but it cannot be understood by a PM for two decades. Malaysians must have been most unlucky to deserve that dictator as PM.

    ///4. Between 1986 to 1997, Malaysia attained the highest growth rates with FDI contributing much towards this achievement.///–Mamakthir
    It could have been higher than the highest rate without NEP.

    ///5. The FDI began to slow down only when China and Vietnam opened themselves to foreign investments. As the cost of labour in Malaysia rose, the countries with much lower cost of labour such as Indonesia and Thailand begun to attract more foreign investment. All these affected the flow of foreign investments into Malaysia.///–Mamakthir
    Obviously foreigners and holders of FDI assets are not obliged to smart the unfair rule of seeing 30% of their equity devalued. They run away when other countries opened themselves. If not for NEP the net inflow of NEP would be higher than what had been realized.

    ///6. Today foreign investments have decreased because of the financial problems faced by the developed countries.

    7. Blaming the NEP is political. That is all there is to it.///-Mamakthir
    If there is a constant factor that discourages some investors who are not willing to subject to unfair NEP rules, FDI would be decreased to that extent. Besides, NEP has made employable Malaysians emigrate and there are simply a lack of the trained personnel to meet the requirements of the investors who go to other countries.

    ///8. That “the majority would argue that the (NEP) policy is the source of all problems facing the nation” as quoted by Dr Muhammed Abdul Khalid here, does not mean that he agrees with the said majority.

    9. Therefore he was correct in saying that Tan Sri Ramon Navaratnam was “factually incorrect”.///–Mamakthir
    Whether Ramon Navaratnam is factually correct or not is not of concern, but what he has said about NEP caused a lower FDI into the country is logical and reasonable.

    ///10. Let us resurrect at the figures of FDI before NEP, and during the years the NEP was being implemented and compare them with those of neighbouring countries. We should also look at the economic growth figures of Malaysia since the NEP was implemented and compare with the period before NEP.///–Mamakthir
    The suggestion was to compare apple with oranges. It is illogical to make comparison across country when NEP is only implemented in Malaysia. The issue should be whether NEP has negatively affected FDI into the country. Mamakthir admitted in para. 2 above that some investors are put off by NEP. That statement is a good proof that NEP caused a decrease in FDI. It is also incorrect to compare the achievement before and after NEP was implemented to negate the effect of NEP, because economic achievement in the country depends on world economic situation of that period. The economic development in the country at any one year after NEP had been implemented would have been higher if not for NEP. The rationale is simple. Without NEP trained Malaysians who have emigrated because of that policy, amounted to two million now, would have remained in the country over the past four decades, and they alone would have contributed to a higher economic growth. That again is supplemented by FDI which would have been in the country had NEP been removed.

    ///11. These figures would validate or disprove the claims of Tan Sri Ramon Navaratnam and the majority that the NEP was at the root of all the problems in Malaysia.///–Mamakthir
    The statistics as suggested would be irrelevant to the issue.

    ///12. Finally Malaysia was able to tackle the depression caused by the devaluation of its currency by currency traders without the social problems as witnessed in other countries affected by the Asian Financial Crisis of 1997-98 and thereafter. Indeed it was the partial success of the NEP in correcting the disparities between the races in Malaysia that the racial problems seen in neighbouring countries did not plague the nation.///–Mamakthir
    It was NEP that has inspired Fiji to implement racist policies and ended up as what Fiji is today. The riots in May 1998 in Indonesia were no doubt inspired by how NEP had been able to keep the government in power together with its rampant corruption with impunity for the powers-that-be. NEP was not necessary to bring up Malay educated class because the country has ample resources to educate all its citizens without the need for quota. But then quota was what makes Malays believe that NEP helps Malays to discriminate against non-Malays. NEP is also the apparatus to ring in Malays as Muslims since their ethnicity is now dependent on article 160 of the constitution. Thus NEP not only retards economic development, it creates racial polarization and spawns religious intolerance.
    The so-called racial problems were created by the ruling government. May 13 would not have happened had Tun Razak called Harun Idris half an hour earlier on that day to call off his plan.

  5. #5 by boh-liao on Friday, 26 August 2011 - 2:43 am

    By international standard, our EC is pathetically incompetent n untrustworthy

    Likewise, by international standard, d on-going sodomee 2 case should hv been dismissed long ago bcos of so many obviously dubious factors: totally noncredible accuser, dubious chain of custody of samples, improper storage of evidence, doubtful interpretation of unreliable n contaminated data generated by incompetent chemists using instruments n protocols of an unaccredited lab, etc
    Mamma mia! They play play with the lives of people – sending d wrong person 2 d gallows

  6. #6 by Cinapek on Friday, 26 August 2011 - 10:59 am

    Can we trust the words of this sly EC Chairman? If I am not mistaken he only said EC is “mulling” allowing overseas Malaysian to vote. Whenever this word is used in Malaysia you can be sure it is not sincere and will not happen. The escape route is when they are challenged, they will hide behind the vague term “mulling” and claimed it was not promised. Much like Najib’s stadium offer and the PSC on election reforms.

    I am also curious why the EC Chairman had claimed repeatedly in the past there is little the EC can do as it is powerless but now so gung ho making all kinds of vague promises?

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