Press release (27 November 2018):Advancing electoral reform in Malaysia

A group of recognised Malaysian and international election experts will hold a two-day Electoral Reform Roundtable on 30 November and 1 December 2018 at Parliament House, Kuala Lumpur.

The roundtable aims to support Malaysia, reforming the electoral system and ensuring fair, free and transparent electoral processes going forward. A synthesis report including key action points of the roundtable’s deliberations will be published in early 2019.

“The roundtable is timely as the Election Commission is looking into all reform measures that are necessary to ensure a fair and transparent electoral process in Malaysia.  We will look into the best practices around the world and draw from the experiences of other countries and the vast resources of all stakeholders to improve our electoral process and elevate it to a universal standard”, said Azhar Azizan Harun, chairman of the Election Commission.  

“The manifesto of Pakatan Harapan stresses the need for electoral reform. We hope that this Roundtable will assist the government to improve electoral processes, in part by learning from the experiences and best practices of other countries”, said Thomas Fann, chairman of BERSIH 2.0.

 “We are encouraged by the peaceful democratic transition in Malaysia and hope to contribute our experience from working with countries on improving electoral processes around the world. The synthesis report of this roundtable will prove a valuable tool to deepen democracy in Malaysia further”, said Alan Doss, President of the Kofi Annan Foundation on behalf of the international co-organisers of this Roundtable.

The Roundtable comprises nine sessions, each covering a different aspect of electoral reform. The sessions are as follow:

  1. Reform of electoral system: Dealing with identity politics, fair representation and healthy political competition;
  2. Ensuring fair representation: Redelineation and boundaries drawing;
  3. Voter registration and the integrity of electoral rolls;
  4. Facilitating participation of absentee voters in election;
  5. Election integrity in digital era: Threats and opportunities;
  6. Control of political financing to ensure clean politics;
  7. Responsibility and power of caretaker government after dissolution of parliament;
  8. Enforcement of election laws against offences: Institution and coordination;
  9. Ensuring independence of election management body


Attendees of the two-day event include political parties, civil society organizations, members of parliament, senators, the Speaker’s Office of Dewan Rakyat, Election Commission, the Election Reform Committee, Law Minister’s Office, Attorney General’s Chambers, and the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission.

The prominent international experts will include:

Sir John Holmes, the chairman of the Election Commission of United Kingdom, Mr. Rahmat Bagja, commissioner of BAWASLU, Indonesian election supervisory body, Mr. Maarten Halff, Senior Political Affairs Officer of United Nations, Mr. Hadar Gumay, former election commissioner of Indonesia, Mr. Alan Doss, President of Kofi Annan Foundation, Prof. Jorgen Elklit of Aarhus University from Denmark, Prof Yuko Kasuya of Keio University from Japan, Ms. Rumbidzai Kandawasvika-Nhundhu, Head of Political Participation and Representation of International IDEA, Mr. Antonio Spinelli, Senior Electoral Expert, International IDEA, Mr. Damaso Magubual of Asian Network for Free Election, Mr. Peter Erben, Senior Global Electoral Adviser of IFES, Mr. Vasu Mohan, Regional Director for Asia Pacific of IFES,  Mr. Mario Mitre of National Democratic Institute and Ms Mir Nadia Nivin, Governance Adviser of UNDP Malaysia and Ms. Nirmala Devi Windgaetter, Secretary of Global Bersih

Local experts on election will include:

Tan Sri Abdul Rashid bin Abdul Rahman, chairman of the Electoral Reform Committee, Mr. Azhar Azizan Harun, chairman of the Election Commission, Dr. Wong Chin Huat from Penang Institute, Associate Professor Dr. Faisal Hazis, from National University of Malaysia, Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan, former Bar Council president, YB Khoo Poay Tiong, member of parliament for Kota Melaka, Professor Edmund Terence Gomez of University of Malaya, Mr. Thomas Fann, chairman of BERSIH 2.0, Mr. Seah Hong Yee, Resource Person of BERSIH 2.0, Mr. Keith Rozario, Independent ICT consultant and Mr. Yap Swee Seng, executive director of BERSIH 2.0.


For inquiry on the Electoral Reform Roundtable, please kindly contact [email protected] or 03-7931 4444.

The roundtable is organised by:

The Dewan Rakyat Speaker’s Office

The Election Commission of Malaysia (EC)

The Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (BERSIH 2.0)

The Kofi Annan Foundation

The International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (International IDEA)

The International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES)

Global Bersih