'Doggies' to work together for voters' rights

Andrew Ong | Jan 24, 08

Elections watchdog Mafrel said it hopes to join forces with Malaysian Human Rights Commission (Suhakam) to educate voters on their rights.

Mafrel chairperson Abdul Malik Hussin disclosed that several areas of cooperation were explored during a meeting with Suhakam chairperson Abu Talib Othman this morning.
“Both parties agreed to agree that voters must be given adequate information regarding their rights as voters,” said Abdul Malik when met after the inaugural meet at the Suhakam headquarters.
According to him, it was mooted during the meeting that Mafrel should conduct public forums on the importance of free and fair elections and upholding the rights of voters.
Previously, Mafrel’s main priorities were independent monitoring and production of reports on general elections and by-elections.
Legal reforms
Abdul Malik added that after the upcoming general election, Mafrel would submit recommendations of amendments to electoral laws to Suhakam.
“We will make the proposals to Suhakam, who in turn can make recommendations to the government,” he added.
Abdul Malik said the Mafrel delegation also recommended that Suhakam establish hotlines to allow voters and observers to call for advice regarding violation of voters rights during elections.
Abu Talib was unavailable for comments when Malaysiakini visited his office this afternoon.
During Suhakam’s Human Rights Day celebrations in September 2007, Abu Talib in a strongly worded speech called on the public to press for free and fair elections.
At the time, the Suhakam chief told reporters that he felt general elections in Malaysia were “free” but not necessarily “fair”.