(Malaysiakini) A wishlist for Election Commission review

Beh Lih Yi and Bede Hong
Jan 10, 07 12:54pm

The proposal by Election Commission (EC) chief Abdul Rashid Abdul Rahman for legislative review to promote transparency has met with varied responses by political parties and watchdog bodies yesterday. Each has come up with recommendations on how the commission can better discharge its duties.

On Monday, Abdul Rashid called for an overhaul of the election laws to ensure the electoral process are transparent and fair to all political parties.

The call was generally applauded by various organisations who have high hopes that such a review would create a cleaner electoral process.
The resonating call among these organisation is for the cleaning up of electoral rolls, a problem that has caused, among others, living voters to be classified as deceased and the inadvertent transfer of voters to different polling stations in past elections.
Other recommendations include allow fair and free coverage of elections, making the EC a more independent body and reviewing how the EC receives budget allocation.
Below are recommendations made by groups and individuals that have spoken to malaysiakini on possible reforms of the electoral legislation.
Election commission review wishlist
Gan Ping Sieu, MCA Youth legal bureau head
There must be a review in the election expenditure to reduce excessive spending. The EC must also re-delineate electoral boundaries in view of the higher concentration of urban voters compared to rural voters.
Importantly, EC must clean up the electoral roll by linking the commission electronically with the National Registration Department to verify the voters’ status.
“In the last election, some voters in my constituency (Mengkibol, Johor) were not able to vote at the polling stations. There were also voters who found themselves transferred to other polling stations without their knowledge.”
Lim Kit Siang, Parliamentary Opposition Leader
The postal ballot voting must be suspended and a re-delineation exercise carried out on the current electoral boundaries.
The review should also look into the creation of a caretaker government to prevent abuse of public-funded machinery.
And finally, the media must be allowed to report freely during the election.
Ramon Navaratnam, Transparency International president
The revision exercise should include the voters’ view. The public must be allowed to contribute ideas towards improving transparency in the electoral process.
“The revision should reflect the views of the voting public and not necessarily only the government and the commission but right across the board.”
Liew Chin Tong, political commentator
The EC must be placed under Parliament’s watch instead of internal submission to the Prime Minister’s department.
The is a need for the EC to be dependent on Parliament, instead of the Prime Minister’s department, for budget allocations to make the commission less vulnerable to influence from the prime minister.
Dr S Vijayaratnam, Gerakan vice-president
Limit election posters displayed during campaigning period.
The Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (Bersih)
Clean-up of the electoral roll by making house-to-house inquiries to eliminate flawed
registrations. Release the list of recently deceased voters for public inspection to prevent erroneous deletion of the names of living voters.
Introduce the use of indelible ink to prevent voting of more than once at different polling stations.
Abolish postal voting for police and military personnel.
Reform the EC organisational structure to co-opt party representatives at every decision-making level. The review must also introduce party-list seats, proportional and fair constituency delineation.
And finally, re-introduce local elections.
Malaysians for Free and Fair Elections (Mafrel)
Firstly, the review must ensure a proper clean up of electoral rolls. It must also inlude verification of the voters lists, in particular the addresses of voters.