Make no mistake about the PSC: the government’s record in implementing PSC and Royal Commission’s recommendations have been abysmal! The recommendations of the PSC on Electoral Reforms, despite its defects, stand the same chance of being kept at an arms length by the Election Commission. Only a minority of it will really be implemented by the EC-some say only 7 of the 22-so will Bersih 3 then become inevitable since Bersih group promised Bersih 3 if all their 8 recommendations are not taken up? A run down of the recommendations are given below(recommendations from Star report):
Report by PSC on Electoral Reform passed in Parliament (Update)
By MARTIN CARVALHO, YUEN MEIKENG and RAHIMY RAHIM
KUALA LUMPUR: The report by the Parliamentary Select Committee on Electoral Reform was passed in Parliament on Tuesday.
Speaker Tan Sri Pandikan Amin Mulia invoked Standing Order 86 (5) to put the PSC report to vote following continuous protests from Opposition MPs who refused to debate it when they were invited to do so.
Earlier in the morning, committee chairman Datuk Seri Dr Maximus Ongkili tabled the report which contained 22 recommendations.
The nine-member PSC – five from Barisan Nasional, three from the Opposition and one Independent MP – started work on the report on Oct 2 last year.
The recommendations and suggestions were obtained from public hearing sessions, feedback from committee members, summarisation of results of re-scrutinisings by the sub-committee, and observations from on-work visits carried out.
The committee met 13 times since October until March 28 this year besides setting up five sub-committees headed by PSC members to refine issues arising out of the public hearings held in Kuala Lumpur, Kota Kinabalu, Kuching, Penang, Kota Baru and Johor Baru between last November and January this year.
From the public hearings, a total of 106 associations, registered organisations and individuals put forward their views and suggestions before the committee.
The following are among the recommendations and suggestions made by the committee:
– The Election Commission (EC) should work towards automatically registering citizens who turn 21 as voters.
The argument to avoid illegal voters in Sabah is nonsense-why not investigate the illegal voter/citizens as part of this cleaning process-if they are committed to clean up the rolls?
– EC should allow Malaysians aged 20 to pre-register as voter.
1 year earlier than currently practiced. But why not register at 18 as practiced by most countries?After registration most voters will wait for a few years before they can have a chance to vote anyway.
– Parliament to be dissolved only after its fourth year in session.
The issue is the campaign period-not when a parliament is dissolved.
– Establishment of caretaker government to run the country until the formation of a new government.
The issue is enforcement of eletoral laws-so if the current laws of abuse of government resources cannot be enforced -then how can the law be enforced on the Caretaker Govt?
– Longer campaigning period before general election – at least 10 days.
Election start from dissolution of legislature-then nomination, campaign, and end after all petitions are delt with. The timetable is very irrational eg we have 1 hour nomination, 1 hour objection period-about the shortest in the world. Most countries have 1-3 months to do all these-thus can do it better. Eg 1 hour nomination cause many arty supporters to jam up nomination centers-caused the policing cost to go 5 times higher than the EC’s cost of running the elections. Objections and appeal can run into weeks and month elsewhere so that all voters can physically inspect the candidates paper. Then campaign period is 1-3 months. The whole timetable need to be extended-not just the last campaign period.
– All campaigning parties contesting in elections to get fair and free access to the media.
What if the media refuse? This hope for the best policy/recommendation is most hypocritical-no advance at all from what the EC `hope’ and `appeal’ have done!
– Allowing Malaysians residing overseas to vote earlier at Malaysian embassies/missions or through postal voting.
What is the timetable-this could allow an escape clause for EC for the coming elections!
– EC should study other methods to receive ballot papers via post from Malaysian embassies/missions worldwide directly to its headquarters for counting and other purposes.
Our regional neighbours like Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand can do this for decades-are we confirmed to be behind them?
– EC officers be allowed postal voting.
– EC to allow media personnel the right to postal voting.
Why not early voting-the better option than problematic postal voting?
– Provide necessary facilities for voters who want to vote outside of their constituency, especially from Sabah and Sarawak or those who are working in Sabah and Sarawak, without having to go back to their registered constituency.
– EC should be empowered to cross out any voter’s name from the main electoral roll or move them to different constituencies if public complaints against the voters have been proven.
They have been moving voters without voters’ concent for so long-giving them this power officially is most laughable!What is needed is integrity of the EC!
– Political parties should advise voters who have moved, to change the address on their identification cards at the National Registration Department before registering as new voters or applying to change their polling stations.
– The EC should examine the system practised in other countries which enables voters to choose between their permanent address (hometown or place of birth) or place of employment as their voting address.
– Enforce existing rules on those who provide false information when registering as voters.
– Another enforcement sub-committee under the EC should be created to enforce all the regulations without having to depend on other authorities.
What happened to the Enforcement Teams which has been legislated?
– The Government should allocate funds for political parties and candidates that win in the elections according to the total number of seats won and the number of votes obtained. Suggestion that the funds be given based on a 50% distribution for the seats won and another 50% for the number of votes obtained.
No implementation mechanism-just like a false promise!
– EC should consider improving the current First-Past-The-Post system (simple majority system) or study other forms of electoral systems such as the Proportionate Representation System.
EC sure like to study-and do nothing afterwards!
– The process of appointing the EC chairman, deputy chairman and members should be conducted like how Federal Court, Court of Appeal and High Court judges are chosen. At present, such judges are appointed by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong on the advice of the Prime Minister. This is to dispel the perception that the EC is not independent.
The EC commissioners are now recommended by the PM anyway-what is new? The point is how to make the appointments independent? Should move this power to the Parliament!
– The EC be given the power to have its own budget and be directly responsible to Parliament to ensure that its objectiveness is not questioned.
– A service commission be set up for the EC to appoint its own officers.
The EC should be made an independent statutory body like Parliament and The Judiciary long ago.
– The EC be restructured to ensure that the enforcement of election laws be carried out by EC enforcement officers to reduce the dependency on other parties.
EC should have investigation, judiciary and enforcement power to be truly independent! Indonesian model of appointing a EC watch dog could be a good model!
– The Government adds human resource and allocations for the formation of an Election Academy to effectively educate all parties including citizens on their right to vote. An advisory board, to consist of representatives from political parties and non-governmental organisations, should be set up to assist the Election Academy.
If the PSC cannot accept the civil society and Opposition views what hope is there for an academy?
– As a long-term measure, the EC’s three responsibilities – to conduct elections, manage the electoral roll and review election constituencies – should each be handled by three independent bodies.
The issue is independence and integrity-not separating the EC structure!
– Delineation of constituencies: A study should be conducted to see whether Dewan Rakyat seats can be equally divided among Peninsula Malaysia, Sabah and Sarawak. The report also suggested that the total number of seats in the Dewan Rakyat be balanced between seats in Peninsular Malaysia, with seats in Sabah and Sarawak.
If there is a promised 34% seats for East Malaysia then Malaya must keep the promise from the formation of Malaysia!
– The EC should come up with a fair formula based on a fixed principle in determining the number of voters in a constituency, to ensure that there are no huge disparities among other areas in the state.
What if they don’t? Since the law to limit voters no from deviating 15% from the average had been removed-the EC just do as they like, causing huge disparities in voters no. Why not reommend bringing back the law???
– Establishment of an independent body like Mimos Bhd to help clean up the electoral roll, and another PSC to monitor the electoral roll.
Why not make the EC independent from political interference -then save on paying the extra watchdogs!
– EC to display the list of doubtful voters within 45 days after the report is tabled which has more than 50 voters within one address in order for the EC to remove and update the electoral rolls
More problems with the electoral rolls than this-why not address the others as well eg moveemnt of voters without the voters’ consent?