Press Statement from Bersih 2.0 [8 January 2020] Opposition Should Support Law Amendments to Empower Election Commission (EC)

Press statement form Bersih 2.0

Date : 8 January 2020


The Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (Bersih 2.0) agrees with the statement by PAS Deputy President Datuk Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man that the Election Commission(EC) should strictly monitor and enforce election laws, regulations and ethics. This has been Bersih 2.0’s call over the years but we must also note that under the current laws the EC’s power is limited.

Based on Article 113 of the Federal Constitution, the EC only authority to conduct and administer electoral matters such as the registration of voters and preparing the electoral roll, conduct Parliamentary and State elections, and carry out delimitation exercise. The EC has to rely on the Police, the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) and the Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) to investigate election offenses when complaints are lodged. 

Hence, Bersih 2.0 would like to call on all parties including opposition parties, *if they are serious and sincere, to support any amendments to the law that would empower the EC to conduct investigations into complaints of election offenses and to bring charges against offenders.

The opposition should also support legal amendments to make the EC more independent and not under the influence of the government if the day. Appointments of key public institutions such as the EC must be through a nomination committee that will receive nominations from all stakeholders including the public, who then shortlist suitably qualified candidates. The shortlisted candidates should then be submitted to the Parliament Select Committee(PSC) for Major Appointments who will look for the candidate that can command the confidence of the public before submitting it to the Prime Minister or even the King for appointment. This process needs to be made part of the law to make the appointment process more transparent and constitutional.

Bersih 2.0 hopes that the opposition will agree with what we have outlined and support any amendments that will strengthen the integrity of key public institutions such as the EC. Strengthening institutions such as the EC can ensure greater transparency in the system and strengthen democracy in our country.

Statement issued by:

The Steering Committee of Bersih 2.0

Image credit : Sinar Harian