Polls watchdog urges reforms in election system

NST: 15 March, 2008
By Sulaiman Jaafar
Election watchdog Malaysia for Free Election (Mafrel) said the Government should consider reviewing and improving the election system in the country. Its chairman Abdul Malek Hussin said the “first past the post” was no longer suitable and should be replaced by the proportionate representation system or a combination of both.
“The present system does not do justice as the number of votes received by political parties do not commensurate with the number of seats they win,” he said. “The proportionate representation system or a hybrid of both is better and do more just justice for all. Many other countries have changed to these systems and it would be good if we could adopt them.”
He was speaking to reporters after a meeting with Kelantan election observers appointed by Mafrel.
Abdul Malek said the proportionate election system would also helped to solve one of the biggest problem in the election – movement of voters from one constituency to another – as voters could vote from anywhere in the country.
On the recent general election, Abdul Malek said he could not comment much on it as Mafrel has been gagged by the Election Commission but it would be meeting the agency soon to discuss several issues that cropped during the election.
Among them were the implication from the presence of phantom voters or outside voters in certain States, allegation of vote-buying in Sarawak and the lost of more than 2,000 voting slips in the Lumut parliamentary seat and state seats under it.
Abdul Malek said it had received police reports from three voters in Sarawak on the alleged vote-buying. “The allegations were that the chief of the long house normally gave RM50 each for the votes but this time it was only RM10. Probably this led them to lodge the reports,” he said.
Abdul Malek also said Mafrel was expected to table its interim report to the EC within 30 days after the election while the final report in three months.