MEDIA STATEMENT (21 JUNE 2018): Bersih 2.0 Proposes Three Criteria in Selecting Chairperson of Election Commission

Following the resignation of the Election Commission chairman Tan Sri Hashim Abdullah with effect from July 1st, the Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (BERSIH 2.0) calls on the Pakatan Harapan government to select a new chairperson of Election Commission based on the criteria of integrity, impartiality and independence and proven knowledge, experience and expertise on election laws and electoral system.

Article 114(2) of the Federal Constitution outlines public confidence as a requirement for the appointment of the election commissioners. However, in order to uphold appropriate standards of ‘public confidence’ befitting of an election commissioner, this condition cannot be taken at face value and must be further defined and elaborated into the following criteria as a measure of ‘public confidence’:
1. Proven track record on personal integrity
2. Proven track record on impartiality and of being independent from government and party politics
3. Proven knowledge/experience/expertise on election laws and electoral system

BERSIH 2.0 believes these criteria are essential in ensuring that the new chairperson of the Election Commission is independent, have the confidence of the public and competent to initiate reform to ensure free and fair elections in the future.

The same set of criteria should apply as well in selecting commissioners of the Election Commission when there is vacant position.

The appointment of Election Commission chairperson based on these criteria will be one of the key measures for the Pakatan Harapan government in implementing its election promise to ensure free and fair election and to restore the trust of the people in our elections, as stated in the 17th Promise in the Pakatan Harapan Manifesto.

Mohd Hashim Abdullah served as personal aide to UMNO information chief Annuar Musa for nine years from 1990 until 1999. He was first appointed as Deputy Chairperson of the Election Commission in 2014 and promoted to Chairperson in January 2016. Clearly, such appointment was in total contradiction with the criteria outlined above. It eroded public confidence in the elections and undermined our democracy.

Pakatan Harapan government should never repeat the mistake of Barisan Nasional government. It must show it is different from Barisan Nasional.

Issued by:
BERSIH 2.0 Steering Committee