EC chairman seeks review of electoral laws

NST: 18 May 2008
KUALA LUMPUR: The Election Commission should undergo a review whereby it would receive more power to strengthen its capability during elections. EC chairman Tan Sri Abdul Rashid Abdul Rahman believed that a review was urgently required because they needed to have the power to put in place a completely new electoral roll which was acceptable to all.
“We feel that there must be new laws making it easier for us to introduce or to prepare electoral rolls before each election. A roll that is not subject to question or controversy.
“There must be a committee to look into the law,” he said at a press conference after opening the National Seminar On Election 2008: Democracy at Work at the International Islamic University Malaysia, in Gombak.
“(It is) to study what the EC actually requires in order to put the commission in a position of strength. A position where you can really determine the proper conduct of elections.
“When it comes to the possible review of our electoral laws, we need to review all the laws and not just one.
“These laws include the Election Act and the Election Offences Act. We need to look into the Constitution itself, Article 113 to 120.”
Abdul Rashid said one of the problems faced by the EC was that they could not submit the proposals because it was not within its purview and the EC could only voice out their dissatisfaction and unhappiness.
“I am surprised there is not much debate on this in Parliament. I thought with all the noise they had made earlier, they should be making noise in Parliament.
“Another power that was lacking was the power for the election commission to sue. When people say the wrong things, we should be able to sue. A lot of scandalous things have been said, including by the media, mainstream and alternative.
“They must be made to pay for the things they said because most of the things they said were not right or not correct.”
Abdul Rashid also disclosed that immediately after the elections, the opposition parties sent delegates to apologise for the words spoken during the March 2008 general election.
“Immediately after the election, the opposition parties did send people to say sorry, to apologise. I don’t want to mention who.” – Bernama