Bersih 2.0 wants parliamentary standing committee on election matters

PETALING JAYA: Election watchdog Bersih 2.0 wants the establishment of a parliamentary standing committee to observe all matters related to elections.

Bersih believes the establishment of a standing committee on election matters is crucial because the electoral system is integral to our political system and a lot of reforms need to be explored and implemented.

It notes that there are five elections pending – two state elections and three by-elections. These are the Sarawak and Melaka state elections, and the by-elections at Batu Sapi (parliamentary constituency), Gerik (parliamentary constituency), and Bugaya (Sabah state constituency).

Bersih also said a parliamentary standing committee would be harder to dissolve than a parliamentary select committee (PSC).


“If it is only established as a parliamentary select committee, it can easily be dissolved and removed, as happened to the PSC on election matters established by the Dewan Rakyat in 2019 under the leadership of former Dewan Rakyat Speaker Mohd Ariff Yusof after the Sheraton Move,” Bersih said in a press release.

Bersih said the standing committee on election matters should be chaired by an elected representative from the opposition and be composed of elected representatives who were committed to clean and fair elections with expertise on election matters.

It also listed what the standing committee should do, including:

  • Establish an independent nomination committee that will nominate candidates for commissioner positions in the Election Commission (EC) to be forwarded to the prime minister whenever there is a vacancy; the prime minister will then convey the names to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong for consideration;
  • Receive, review and debate the annual report of the EC, including special reports after the general election or any by-election, before the report is presented in the Dewan Rakyat with comments of the standing committee;
  • Scrutinise the EC’s financial and expenditure reports, including those for general elections and by-elections;
  • Conduct inquiries into matters related to elections and when necessary, subpoena witnesses to give testimony and provide evidence in relation to these issues. These investigations should be made public and televised or broadcast on parliamentary websites;
  • Review any election law and amendment to the election law before it is tabled and debated in Parliament by engaging with all stakeholders, especially political parties and civil society organisations; and
  • Provide recommendations for electoral reform.

The Dewan Rakyat recently reshuffled nine parliamentary select committees where the membership of each PSC has been increased to nine, and the ratio between government and opposition MPs has been adjusted to 5:4, reflecting the strengths of the ruling and opposition parties in the Dewan.

The nine PSCs are: Fundamental Liberty and Constitutional Rights, Finance and Economy, Security, Agencies under the Prime Minister’s Department, Agriculture and Domestic Trade, Infrastructure Development, Education, Women, Children’s Affairs and Social Development, and Health, Science and Innovation.

(First published by Free Malaysia Today on 13 October 2021: