Press statement from Bersih 2.0
14 January 2020
MAKE PUBLIC THE ERC INTERIM REPORT AND EMBARK ON PUBLIC CONSULTATION
The Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (BERSIH 2.0) welcomes the official submission of the interim report of the Electoral Reform Committee (ERC) to the Prime Minister yesterday. The interim report contains 49 recommendations on electoral reform, ranging from the reform of the election management bodies, political financing, changing the First-Past-The-Post election system, delineation process, integrity of electoral rolls, fair and equal access to media etc, all of which are of great importance to the public as they affect their right to having clean, free and fair elections.
We call on the Prime Minister to immediately make public the report in order for all stakeholders to have an opportunity to provide their inputs and comments before the submission of the ERC final report, scheduled to be in August 2020.
We congratulate the ERC for conducting 21 consultation workshops nationwide before coming out with the interim report. We further call on the ERC to use the interim report and embark on a second stage of public consultation from now until August 2020 with all stakeholders, including all political parties from both sides of the political divide, civil society organizations, academicians and public members before finalising the report. Such a public engagement process without the full disclosure of the interim report would not be effective, meaningful and democratic. It will further create unnecessary distrust and derail the reform process.
Elections are one of the key foundations of democracy for a country and it will determine the legitimacy of the government elected. In order for an electoral reform process to be successful and legitimate, the process should be transparent with meaningful public participation. This will ensure the recommendations eventually proposed by the ERC and adopted by the government have the support of most of the stakeholders and will receive bipartisan support in the Parliament.
The interim report of the ERC should not suffer the same fate of the report of the Council of Eminent Persons or the Institutional Reform Committee (IRC) report submitted to the Government. While we join the calls of civil society for these two reports to be made public as well, we urge the government to take this opportunity for the ERC interim report to break the culture of keeping the public in the dark. This should not be a feature of the new Malaysia promised by Pakatan Harapan.
In its manifesto for the 14th General Election, Pakatan Harapan has promised to ensure transparency and robustness of our election system. This is the time for Pakatan Harapan to walk the talk and release the ERC interim report to the public without further delay.
The Steering Committee of BERSIH 2.0
Image credit: RTM