Implement PSC reforms before polls, Bar Council tells Najib

By Clara Chooi
The Malaysian Insider
Apr 04, 2012

KUALA LUMPUR, April 4 — The Bar Council today urged Datuk Seri Najib Razak to “exercise political will” and ensure all the electoral reform recommendations passed by Parliament yesterday would be implemented before the 13th general election.

Council president Lim Chee Wee said in a statement here that the prime minister should also consider the weaknesses in the 22 recommendations, which were contained in the parliamentary select committee’s (PSC) final report to the House.

“The Malaysian Bar urges the PM… to pursue holistic solutions towards rectifying the problems of the electoral roll and implement unhesitatingly all the recommendations of the PSC, before the next general election,” he said.

Lim described, however, the PSC’s report as “incomplete” and “inadequate” to achieve free and fair elections, which was the panel’s main objective when it was formed last year.

Najib had mooted the PSC last October, several months after his administration drew widespread criticism in the international media for its handling of Bersih 2.0’s rally for free and fair election last July 9.

But the PSC’s 22 recommendations, tabled and approved by Parliament without debate yesterday, have been criticised for purportedly failing to touch on specific issues pertaining to discrepancies in the current electoral roll.

“This was the principal and immediate concern that gave rise to Bersih 2.0,” Lim reminded today.

“The measures recommended by the PSC in relation to the electoral roll do not engender faith and confidence in the integrity and veracity of the principal electoral roll,” he added.

Lim said the process of updating the voter registry should be guaranteed free from fraud while the existing electoral roll should be weeded of erroneous entries.

The PSC, he complained, had made only a “nominal nod” in that direction by referring to a brief audit of the electoral roll by government agency Mimos Bhd.

The audit, added Lim, had been conducted within very limited parameters.

He noted that the PSC had also failed to deal with the Election Commission’s (EC) alleged lack of commitment to implementing reforms, which he said was proven when the authority rejected six out of the 10 recommendations in the panel’s interim report last year.

Even more daunting, said Lim, was how the bipartisan parliamentary panel had not prescribed a fixed timeline for all of its 22 recommendations, leading to concerns that the polls process would be just as fraudulent in the coming 13th general election.

“While the Malaysian Bar acknowledges that some of the 22 recommendations of the PSC are positive, and represent a step in the right direction, the PSC has missed an ideal opportunity to make comprehensive and extensive recommendations to realise Malaysians’ aspiration for free and fair elections,” he said.

Lim also lamented Dewan Rakyat Speaker Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia’s refusal yesterday to allow a “minority report” to be attached to the PSC’s final 22 recommendations.

This, he said, meant that the dissenting views expressed by the panel’s non-Barisan Nasional (BN) members were not formally recorded in the PSC’s final report to the House.

“For the Speaker to have disallowed it means that the PSC’s final report fails to reflect the diversity of views expressed within the PSC,” said Lim.

The nine-member PSC had included three lawmakers from the federal opposition — PKR’s Azmin Ali, DAP’s Anthony Loke and PAS’s Dr Hatta Ramli — all of whom had objected to four of the 22 recommendations put forward in the final report.

  1. #1 by yhsiew on Wednesday, 4 April 2012 - 10:06 pm

    Don’t put all the hope on Najib who has no intention to reform. Pakatan will be in trouble if Najib dissolves parliament tomorrow! Don’t let the matter drag on, go for Bersih 3.0 and at the same time put pressure on Najib. There is no harm to carry out two actions simultaneously.

  2. #2 by monsterball on Thursday, 5 April 2012 - 2:39 am

    And BERSIH 3 is on at 28th April {all details available at Malaysiakini blog} because Najib has proven to be unreliable.
    I will be there with my friends.

  3. #3 by yhsiew on Thursday, 5 April 2012 - 7:38 am

    Asking Najib to implement PSC reforms is akin to asking BN to “dig its own grave”. Najib is unlikely to do it.

  4. #4 by drngsc on Thursday, 5 April 2012 - 8:38 am

    Why is Bar Council asking Jib Gor to implement an incomplete, inadequate recommendation by PSC?
    Bar Council, join us at BERSIH 3.0 to ask for real reform.

    We need to change the tenant at Putrajaya. GE 13 is coming.
    We need BERSIH 3.0 before GE 13.
    Change we must. Change we will, Change we can.
    See you all at BERSIH 3.0

  5. #5 by Winston on Thursday, 5 April 2012 - 8:39 am

    Haven’t the opposition said that the so-called PSC reforms are a very watered down version of what was required and even some of the requirements were ignored?
    So, what is there to implement?
    It looked like the BN government is ignoring the reforms almost wholesale.
    Because to implement them would be to their detriment!!

  6. #6 by tak tahan on Thursday, 5 April 2012 - 4:22 pm

    It is ironical that the PSC which is dominated by BN, instead of scrapping the notorious postal voting system as strongly demanded by reformists, has further expanded its scope. This postal voting is a discredited system that has been profusely abused to give consistently more than 90% electoral support to the ruling BN. Originally meant for the soldiers and police, it will now be extended to cover media workers and EC personnel, the latter, according to reports, has alarmingly increased from 140,000 to 240,000 in numbers. This decision by PSC, which is quickly acted upon by EC to gazette the new postal voters presently, will no doubt add a major illegitimate advantage to BN in the coming polls.

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