Bersih supports EC’s call for Commission on Electoral Reform

9 January 2007
Press Statement
The Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (BERSIH) welcomes the Election Commission (EC) chairman Tan Sri Abdul Rashid Abdul Rahman’s call to set up an independent commission on electoral reform.
Bersih also feels that Tan Sri Abdul Rashid need not wait for the establishment of an independent commission to amend the Elections Act 1958, as there are other measures which are within the jurisdiction of the EC.

Bersih calls on Tan Sri Abdul Rashid to immediately implement three short-term measures which the EC can implement under current regulations or by proposing amendments to the current regulations, as it did before the last general elections.
The three immediate measures are as follows:
1. The use of indelible ink
The EC should introduce the use of indelible ink, in order to prevent anyone from voting more than once at different polling stations. This can be done by amending the Elections (Conduct of Elections) Regulations 1981.

2. Clean-up of the electoral roll

The EC has the power to make house-to-house inquiries to eliminate flawed registrations under Sub-regulation 13(2) of the Elections (Registrations of Electors) Regulations 2002. To ensure the deletion of deceased voters would not lead to erroneous deletion of the living, all EC needs to do is to release the list of those voters before the deletion process for public inspection, as is legally required for the addition of new voters.

3. Repeal postal voting

Postal voting should be abolished for police and military personnel. The process is neither transparent nor free, as Tan Sri Abdul Rashid himself had blamed postal voting as the cause for the missing 5,486 ballots in Lumut in 2004. Again, this can be done by amending the Elections (Postal Voting) Regulations 1959.
Tan Sri Abdul Rashid raised four issues in his comments yesterday, namely party registration, balanced reporting, campaign finances and the misuse of public facilities. These are just four out of the 24 concerns raised by Bersih on 23 November 2006, therefore we call upon him to pursue the other 20 concerns raised by Bersih.
After the scandalous administration of the last elections and appalling vote-seat disproportionality in 2004, Bersih urges the PM, Dato Seri Abdullah Badawi to respond to Tan Sri Rashid’s call for an independent commission on electoral reform. The terms of reference of the commission must cover not only the issues above, but also fundamental concerns, such as reforming the EC organizational structure to co-opt party representatives at every decision-making level, the introduction of party-list seats, proportional and fair constituency delineation and re-introduction of local elections.