MEDIA STATEMENT (14 JUNE 2018): Other EC Commissioners Need to Go as Well, Establish Royal Commission of Inquiry into GE14

The Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (BERSIH 2.0) welcomes the decision of Election Commission (EC) Chairman Tan Sri Hashim Abdullah’s decision to enter early retirement beginning 1st July. We question the delay in Hashim’s decision as calls for his removal have been made known since the 14th General Election was held on May 9th and to remind the authorities to ensure that no critical information or evidence regarding possible tampering, manipulation and rigging of the election was destroyed, modified or hidden away.

BERSIH 2.0 calls on the other six commissioners to tender their resignation immediately for their failure to uphold, defend and implement the democratic right to vote as well as the principles of clean, free and fair elections.

As Hashim’s retirement is not the sacking borne out of acknowledgement of the EC’s lack of competency, integrity and credibility and that there are still six commissioners in the EC, we further call for a Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) to be set up to look into electoral fraud and offences which took place during the 14th General Elections, and to investigate the role played by the commissioners in addressing these issues – or lack thereof. The RCI must be completed within 6 months of its inception.

With the position of EC chairperson vacant, BERSIH 2.0 views this as an opportunity for the government to show its commitment for electoral reform by appointing a person with high integrity and reform-minded who will assist in reforming the electoral system as outlined in BERSIH 2.0’s Election Reform Action Plan. 

As an interim measure to fill the current vacant position of EC chair, we call on the prime minister to be open and transparent in this exercise of searching for the best candidate. Nominations from civil society and public members should be considered.

For the long-term reform on the appointment process of EC commissioners, which will require amendments to the Federal Constitution and the Election Commission Act, BERSIH 2.0 calls on the government to establish an election commission nomination committee, consisting of representatives from the three branches of government, statutory bodies and civil society representative to receive and screen applicants. Public hearing should be held for shortlisted candidates, including processes for members of public to view the candidates’ CV and submit representation. The committee will submit its nominated candidates to Parliament for approval by the House of Representative, after which it will be presented to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong for approval and appointment.  

Issued by:
BERSIH 2.0 Steering Committee