Election Commission (EC) chief Mohd Hashim Abdullah has blamed the election body’s bad image on negative perception but has failed to acknowledge their own lack of transparency and inaccessibility to vital information as contributing factors.
Public confidence in the EC is at an all-time low yet there have not been any sincere efforts to implement substantive actions for free and fair elections. Here are just a few examples:
Unconstitutional redelineation exercise
The EC’s latest redelineation exercise is unconstitutional, running afoul of the one person, one vote doctrine with widespread gerrymandering and malapportionment which clearly favour one party.
Furthermore, important information is difficult to obtain as seen in the case of Haris Ibrahim. Despite the court’s ruling that the EC are not obliged to give information on redelineation, they should’ve taken the initiative to provide the details that he had asked for anyway. (
Flawed and bloated electoral roll
Rampant errors in the electoral roll has become common knowledge over the years. Voters are registered in the wrong voting district, DUN, or a different state altogether. There are instances of repeated entries and phantom voters.
While the EC is the only body empowered to vet the electoral roll, these discrepancies persist and cannot simply be explained away as a matter of perception.
Inefficient and obsolete voter registration system
A system revamp is needed to ensure that the rakyat is able to exercise their democratic right to vote without hindrance. At present, the slow six-month period to register and gazette a voter is an unnecessary barrier in the process and shifts the burden on to the voters.
The EC should consider implementing automatic voter registration which would significantly hasten and ease operations as well as reduce errors in the electoral roll. This has been one of BERSIH 2.0’s recommendations since 2011 which has faced resistance from the EC.
Failure to check electoral corruption
Moreover, the EC’s failure to enforce election laws has allowed bribery and corruption to go unchecked.
They have neither responded to our Pemantau reports nor have they taken active steps to address the matter.
Failure to advocate “caretaker government code”
The EC also has not recommended the “caretaker government code” which monitors the interim government for the duration of the elections.
While BERSIH 2.0 welcomes the EC’s plans to address this perception issue via media and videos, they must take further proactive steps by committing to being more transparent in their administration.
BERSIH 2.0 would also like to remind Mohd Hashim that by simply blaming the EC’s bad image on a perception problem does not absolve them of responsibility and accountability – how the EC conducts themselves directly affects how the public perceives them.
Signed by the BERSIH 2.0 Steering Committee members