Hornbill Unleashed

June 4, 2012

Stop dithering over electoral reforms, Proham tells Putrajaya

Proham

Proham in a statement today said there has been a public loss of confidence in the Election Commission and the electoral process as a whole.

Putrajaya must focus on promised reforms in the next month ahead of national polls to resolve the “electoral crisis” instead of getting defensive over the chaos of the April 28 rally, human rights watchdog Proham said today.

The ex-human rights commissioners group wants the federal government to set up a permanent monitoring committee to oversee the 22 points proposed by a temporary parliamentary panel set up last year to boost flagging public confidence in the Election Commission (EC).

It also wants the EC to set up a separate supervisory unit that includes civil society electoral watchdogs “to resolve the electoral reform crisis and the lack of confidence in the electoral system”.

“This is causing the loss of confidence in the Election Commission and the whole electoral process,” Proham said in a statement today.

The watchdog said the election regulator cannot shirk its responsibilities by passing the buck to the National Registration Department (NRD) as the lawful authority dealing with registration but must work with it to weed out “phantom voters” and other irregularities from the electoral roll.

“Proham urges the NRD to cooperate with the EC to clarify the date these foreign-named voters were granted citizenship and the duration in which they have stayed in Malaysia,” it said.

The EC had come under fire for its delay and superficial response to “many allegations of failure to clean up the electoral roll and the absence of time lines and target dates to carry out the recommendations of the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC)”, Proham said.

Proham cited an independent report that showed a list of 50 people in the Johor Baru parliamentary constituency of Kampung Majidee Melayu who shared the same address and were registered as voters despite being foreign-born.

“They have ‘code 71’ in their ICs (MyKads) which show they are not born in Malaysia and they all have the same address with no house numbers, some silat centre… which makes them highly dubious as possible phantom voters,” Proham secretary-general Datuk Denison Jayasooria toldThe Malaysian Insider when contacted today.

Proham said it was concerned because the names had suddenly appeared on the electoral roll after May 2011. In contrast, names listed prior to that could be accounted for as they were all registered to Malaysia-born citizens and all had addresses detailing relevant house numbers and street names.

It also asked the EC to verify a claim by Klang MP Charles Santiago that 3,457 voters had been questionably “transferred out” of his constituency.

Proham said the EC must work with the Attorney General’s Chambers, the Bar Council, Bersih and the PSD to come out with proposals to amend the law to immediately give the authorities the necessary power to clean up the dubious electoral roll within the next month and on a regular basis.

Electoral reform movement Bersih, led by Datuk Seri Ambiga Sreenevasan, has been lobbying the Najib administration to clean up the election process and make it more transparent, and held two street demonstrations on July 9 last year and another on April 28 to draw support for the cause.

The government has been hit by widespread criticism following its harsh measures at crowd control and has recently taken to suing Bersih’s leaders for damages under a new law allowing public assemblies that was enforced just days before the April 28 rally.

2 Comments »

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  2. The Election Commission must operate independently or in full autonomy, void of all political and personal influence. Whoever controls this commission politically holds the triumph card in determining the outcome of any election. BN or Najib has been practicing, what I would term as a lop-sided and unlawful advantage over PKR by using EC as its tool, enabling it to manipulate the outcome of every election. To compound the whole matter, EC’s top guns are UMNO members-something totally unacceptable in the West, which promotes the true spirit of democracy. I liken BN to that of dictatorship, where the leader calls the shot in any decision making pertaining to the nation, typifying Malaysia.

    Comment by Egbert Lau — June 4, 2012 @ 8:44 PM | Reply


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