The Chairman of PSC on electoral reform reportedly regret that his report produced over half a year of hard work, was ignored by Parliament, when it was `passed’ without a debate! His picture seems to show that he was close to tears! He actually has more cuase to come to this emotional state than what was reported here. Actually there had been comments when the PSC was started last year that asking junior ministers to head and run a major PSC on electoral reform simply means that the PSC is doomed from the beginning. There was already a precedent: the PSC on Integrity chaired by UPCO’s president Bernard Dompok was ignored even by the government’s department heads!
It is therefore not surprising that the PSC made a number of recommendations which leave it to the Election Commission to cary out the recommendations without any mechanism or timetable specified. Isues which otherwise can be helpful eg public funding of parties, regulation on caretaker government, equitable access to media by all parties etc, are rendered a inconsequential `recommendation’! What a shame that the PSC as a representative of the legislative parliament is giving an impression of a civil servants rather than the order giver!
The Egyptian EC, overseeing an election by 50mil voters, manage to implement balloting by Egyptian expatriates in numerous countries within 1-2 months-why the Malaysian EC managing only 12mil voters, fail to do the same over a much longer preparation time? The only feasible explanation is simply that they are not willing to take the order from the PSC! They only take the order from the PM who appoint the 7 commissioners of the EC!
Reading the excuses given by the EC over how difficult for it to implement balloting by Malaysians living overseas remind one of the comical `Yes Minister’ TV series where the civil servants say `yes’ in front of the ministers, only to do the opposite behind him. The EC here is worse: it says `no’ even in front of the minister from the PSC!