Posts Tagged ‘EC

03
Mar
17

Ex-EC chief doubts Umno has 3 million members

Ex-EC chief doubts Umno has 3 million members

Former EC chairman Abdul Rashid Abdul Rahman urges opposition parties to focus on the remaining 12 million voters to capture Putrajaya and state governments.

PETALING JAYA: A former Election Commission (EC) chairman has disputed that Umno has three million members, saying its divisional leaders in the past took names from the electoral rolls to set up branches nationwide.

Abdul Rashid Abdul Rahman, who is now Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM) vice-president, said many of those whose names were picked from the electoral rolls, did not realise that they had become Umno members.

“As such opposition parties need not fear that the largest Malay party had a strong vote bank to keep them in power.

“I know this because their leaders took the voters list to set up branches in Umno divisions,” said Abdul Rashid at a PPBM-DAP seminar in Alor Star on Saturday. Also present at the seminar were PPBM chairman Dr Mahathir Mohamad, PKR and DAP leaders.

Abdul Rashid, who was with the EC for 27 years, both as civil servant and commission chief, said this was done with the encouragement of top party leaders.

Umno leaders have always taken pride that its strong membership ensured its party and other candidates from Barisan Nasional component parties won in elections.

Abdul Rashid said opposition parties should focus on the remaining 12 million voters to win power in Putrajaya and state governments.

“But we must work very hard to woo voters in the 14th general election,” he added.

Abdul Rashid said two years ago he had also proposed to Prime Minister Najib Razak to conduct automatic voter registration when citizens turn 21 but the idea was shot down.

“If this exercise was implemented, the number of Malay voters in Peninsular Malaysia will increase from 59% to 69%.

He also urged all opposition parties to unite to change the present government.

…more
Ex-EC chief doubts Umno has 3 million members
February 14, 2017 – FMT

17
Jun
15

High Court nullifies EC’s Sarawak re-delineation

In a landmark decision, the Kuching High Court today nullified the Election Commission’s re-delineation exercise for Sarawak.

Following this, Justice Yew Jen Kie granted a declaration sought by Sarawak PKR that the re-delineation lacked in detailed particulars of the areas specified in paragraph two of the 13th Schedule of the Federal Constitution.

The court also granted a mandamus order to compel EC to republish the notice of its proposed recommendations to review the division of the Sarawak state constituencies for the purpose of elections for the state legislative assembly.

The application was made by Batu Lintang assemblyperson See Chee How (photo) and a voter of Baram.

This is a victory of sorts for the opposition who had been contesting the re-delineation exercise as invalid because it lacked particulars for voters to protest.

The Kuching High Court granted leave (permission) on Feb 7 to See’s application for a judicial review.

Today’s decision would hamper Chief Minister Adenan Satem’s plan to seek an early mandate following his appointment last year. The state must hold elections before the middle of next year.

At present, Sarawak has 71 state seats and the re-delineation exercise by EC seeks to increase it to 82 – an additional 11 – for the state legislative assembly.

Besides this decision today, activist Haris Ibrahim has also filed a judicial review against the EC to compel the electoral body to provide details of the re-delineation process for all constituencies in Malaysia.

Thanked civil society groups

See, when contacted, said today’s decision was good for the people of Sarawak as the EC should not bulldoze through a re-delineation exercise like it had done in the past.

The decision, he said, meant the court found that the EC had not been complying with the 13th Schedule as required by the Federal Constitution.

“This is not only a victory for Sarawak but for other states facing re-delineation exercises. I would like to personally thank electoral watchdog Bersih, Tindak Malaysia and NGO Rise of Sarawak Efforts (Rose).

“They and other civil society groups contributed much to our efforts and in supporting us in our challenge.”

With the decision, the Batu Lintang assemblyperson said EC will have to comply with what is required under the Federal Constitution.


…more
May 15, 2015 – Malaysiakini
High Court nullifies EC’s Sarawak re-delineation

25
May
15

Election Commission CANNOT dictate who we vote for

Can the Election Commission dictate who we vote for?

QUICK TAKE: It may seem that the government wants to exercise control over every aspect of our lives as citizens in this fair land. When the Election Commission (EC) jumped at the suggestion by controversial lecturer Ridhuan Tee by stating that candidates must qualify by having a credit in Bahasa Melayu, many threw up a fuss.

Rightly so, since by merit of language alone, several ministers may have to leave office, not to mention those of whom Bahasa Melayu is not their mother tongue.

Maybe, just to be fair, the EC should have a language competency test for prospective candidates. This test should be done upon nomination by the respective political parties. Held in a neutral location, and for which the results should be exhibited for public viewing.

Those disqualified few should have the option to take language lessons in selected EC-approved schools. Of course, they will have to pay a tuition fee that is GST rated, just so they can help the development of the country.

But seriously, if we take up the point to mandate that prospective candidates must have a credit in Bahasa Melayu in order to stand as a candidate, then something is wrong with the democratic process in Malaysia.

Can the EC dictate who we vote for?

A quick read of the Election Act 1958, would give you some insight to the authority of the EC in facilitating elections in Malaysia. The Election Act 1958 must be read alongside the Federal Constitution and thus, both documents are what give authority to the EC in the administration of elections.

The Federal Constitution Article 47 states, “Every citizen resident in the Federation is qualified to be a member – (b) of the Senate, if he is not less than thirty years old; (c) of the House of Representatives, if he is not less than twenty-one years old, unless he is disqualified for being a member by this Constitution or by any law made in pursuance of Article 48.”

Article 47 is clear in stating that a citizen of this country has the right to contest an election. The disqualifying clauses, as mentioned in Article 48, is that they are not mentally unstable, or a bankrupt, or a criminal, or a non-citizen.

Nowhere is there a mention of academic prowess. Regardless of their academic standing, a citizen can and is allowed to stand for election. This non-mention of academic qualification does not mean the political parties cannot impose their own conditions. It is the right of the political party to put forward their best candidate to the people.

This allowance to allow political parties the responsibility to put forward their best, does explain to a certain degree; the level of intelligence we see in some of our ministers in this day and age. If the candidate is not intelligent, it is the party’s fault.

Election Act 1958 is clear that the EC is to administer and facilitate elections. The voters are a primary responsibility of the EC, there is no mention of authority to filter candidates. The EC is not responsible for the quality of candidates. As long as the candidates meet the requirements of the Constitution, the EC is obliged to accept them as candidates.

Thus, it seems the EC cannot dictate who is allowed to be candidate other than what is mentioned in the Constitution.

…more
07 May 2015 – theantdaily.com
Can the Election Commission dictate who we vote for?

07
Jan
15

The arrogant EC chairman

After snubbing civil society, polls body chief gets flak from Bersih

The Election Commission (EC) chairman is being “arrogant”, says polls watchdog Bersih 2.0, after he snubbed civil society groups on a potential meeting over the boundary redrawing exercise and possible seat increase.

The watchdog’s steering committee said in a statement that Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof and the EC needed to instil “public confidence” in themselves to be effective.

It added that this could only be done through continued engagement with civil society.

“Article 114(2) of the Federal Constitution clearly states the importance of ‘public confidence’ in the work of the EC, so much so that this becomes the sole explicit criterion of their appointment by the Yang Di-Pertuan Agong.”

The Malaysian Insider reported Aziz as saying on Thursday that the EC will go ahead with the redelineation of electoral boundaries without input from civil society and would only engage groups identified in the Federal Constitution.

“We are not going against the law if we refuse to meet the civil society representatives,” Aziz said, in response to Bersih 2.0 chair Maria Chin Abdullah’s call on the EC to obtain feedback from non-governmental organisations when conducting the exercise.

Bersih said Aziz’s “opaque and unaccountable conduct” by excluding civil society from the redelineation exercise and engaging selected political parties was why it repeatedly called for the EC chairman’s resignation.

It said in 2003, the EC entertained objections from single individuals such as local Umno leaders, although the 13th Schedule limited the objectors to state governments, local councils and groups of 100 or more affected voters.

“Where objections were on political grounds—such as voters’ likelihood to vote for or against Barisan Nasional (BN)—the EC would consent to the objections but show amazing ‘initiative’ in producing new constitutionally compatible grounds for them,” the electoral watchdog said.

Bersih also urged Aziz to “make amends” by engaging all stakeholders in the redelineation process, including civil society, saying that the EC should also publicise the operational detail of the objection and inquiry process and announce the full-work of its schedule.

“The EC should stop turning the commencement date of the exercise into a guessing game—it has been postponed from 2011, 2012, 2013, this past March to this year-end.”

Usually held every eight years, the redelineation exercise should have been done in 2011 but it was deferred due to preparations for the 13th General Election held in May last year.

The EC has two years to either redraw electoral boundaries, or add state and parliamentary seats before the next general election scheduled in 2018.

Bersih decried attempts by the EC to rationalise the need for more parliamentary and state seats, which critics saw as an attempt to manipulate the next election in favour of the ruling BN coalition.

…more
After snubbing civil society, polls body chief gets flak from Bersih
20 December 2014 – TMI

14
Nov
14

Redelineation with more seats requires two-thirds majority in Parliament

Don’t fall for EC’s charms on seat-redrawing exercise, Ambiga warns opposition

Former Bersih co-chair Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan yesterday called on all political parties not to be taken in by the promises of the Election Commission (EC) to hold a fair redelineation of electoral boundaries.

She said history has shown that the EC’s word was not to be fully believed and urged, especially opposition parties, not to be fooled by the commission.

“I am shocked that the opposition parties believe them (EC), that they are fair in increasing seats,” she said at the “GE13: clean and fair? The verdict of the people’s tribunal” forum in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.

“What reason have they shown for us to believe them? On what basis are they (the opposition) allowing the delineation to carry on. The electoral roll has not been cleaned up?.”

It was reported on Sunday that the EC would be going ahead with the long overdue redelineation of electoral boundaries, having deferred the scheduled exercise in 2011 after the last one in 2003.

EC chairman Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof said the EC was expected to gazette the notice for the redelineation exercise by year-end.

Aziz also said a redelineation exercise was not intended to determine the victory of any party in elections. The principle behind the EC exercise was to facilitate the voter.

If the exercise involves an increase in the number of seats, a two-thirds majority vote is needed in Parliament to approve the changes before they are passed by the lower house.

The ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) does not have the required two-thirds majority in Parliament, with only 133 seats to Pakatan Rakyat’s 89 seats, and will require votes from opposition lawmakers to approve the exercise.

Ambiga said she had heard rumours of opposition parties which agreed with the EC on the redelineation exercise.

“So what I am saying is, please don’t negotiate these things without getting the basic system right otherwise you will be building on a rocky core,” she said, referring to the discrepancies in the electoral roll which had been highlighted in the tribunal.

…more
Don’t fall for EC’s charms on seat-redrawing exercise, Ambiga warns opposition
6 November 2014 – TMI

09
Jun
13

Call for EC’s resignation and repeal of Sect 9A, Elections Act


Under the federal constitution, the EC is meant to be even more independent than the Chief Justice of the Federal Court, the president of the Court of Appeal, the Chief Judges of Malaya, Sabah and Sarawak, and all the judges in the Federal Court, the Court of Appeal and the High Courts.

Under Article 122B, the Yang di-Pertuan Agong needs to act on the prime minister’s advice in appointing these senior judges. However, under Article 114(1) of the federal constitution, the commissioners’ appointment is theoretically made by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong only after consultation with the Conference of Rulers.

This intention is clearly to prevent the EC, whose job is to be the referees of politicians in elections from being controlled by the politicians themselves.

Hence, Najib’s suggestion to put the EC under a PSC shows either his ignorance or disregard of the independence of the EC as intended by the constitution drafters.

In practice, we have seen how the PSC on electoral reform worked under the dismaying leadership of Maximus Ongkili (left).

Despite the bipartisan membership, the panel lacked the political will to pursue real reforms and failed to take a stand on many issues. The most pathetic recommendation is to actually have another PSC on the electoral rolls.

Putting aside the question of constitutionality and constitutional design, unless Umno-BN is truly committed to electoral reforms, a PSC overseeing the EC will likely end up as an instrument to legitimise the EC’s partiality.

One root cause of the EC’s subservience to the power of the Executive is that the body has always been packed with retired senior civil servants, whose careers were to take orders from politicians rather than checking on them. Despite the constitutional provision that explicitly excludes the Executive in the EC appointment process, the Executive has been controlling it since Tunku Abdul Rahman’s time.

The real test for Najib

If Najib is serious about national reconciliation – so his questionably-obtained 133-seat majority in the federal Parliament may be given the minimal acceptance and allowed to run the country until the next election is called – he should show his commitment to electoral reform on two things.

First, he should join the growing public call for the current EC line-up to step down. No prime minister has the power to even advise the Agong on the sacking of the EC members. However, if Najib calls for the EC’s resignation, certainly Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof, Wan Ahmad Wan Omar (right) and their gang will have to go.

Najib can then propose a constitutional mechanism, after bipartisan negotiations and public consultations, to advice the Agong and the Conference of Rulers on the appointment of the EC members.

Second, Najib should see through that the 13th Parliament will rectify flaws in the current election laws, which affect a wide range of matters from voter registration, campaigning freedom, media access, political finance, electoral administration, to constituency redelineation.

Top on this priority should be the deletion of Section 9A of the Elections Act 1958. This section has effectively prevented fraud and errors in the electoral rolls from being challenged and corrected in the court once the rolls are gazetted. And the deletion of an inserted section is so easy, no additional technicality involved.

The section which stipulates that “after an electoral roll has been certified – or re-certified, as the case may be – and notice of the certification or re-certification has been published in the gazette as prescribed by regulations made under this Act, the electoral roll shall be deemed to be final and binding and shall not be questioned or appealed against in, or reviewed, quashed or set aside by, any court” was in fact inserted after the court announced the outcome of the Likas by-election null and void over discrepancies in the electoral roll.

Until and unless this section is repealed, the previous discrepancies and fraudulent entries in the existing electoral rolls are likely to stay.

…more
Najib, repeal Section 9A of the Elections Act
Wong Chin Huat
Jun 4, 2013 – Malaysiakini

04
Jun
13

EC heads must go

Bersih co-chairperson Ambiga Sreenevasan said Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak would do better to have the Election Commission (EC) heads removed than to announce a special committee to oversee a commission that has already lost public confidence.

“The prime minister is doing this because he recognises that the EC does not enjoy public confidence, so in that case they (EC heads) must resign or be removed.

“To make them report to another committee is unconstitutional, because if you look at the federal constitution, they are supposed to be an independent body,” she told Malaysiakini when contacted.

She was responding to a Bernama report on Najib’s speech at the Agong’s birthday ceremony today, where he announced a special committee to oversee the commission will be set up to address lacking confidence in the EC.

However the report did not provide any further details.

Ambiga said the EC members have equal standing to a federal court judge and putting the EC under a committee is akin to putting the judiciary under another authority.

“They (the EC) are not a government department even though they behave like one.

“They have been behaving like a government department because they are being treated like one, so the sooner everyone realises the functions and powers of the EC, the better.

“That is why Bersih holds such a high standard of accountability for the EC,” said the lawyer.

Ambiga said Najib’s move is like fixing a gaping wound by using band aid remedies.

‘Overhaul EC members’

“If they really want to restore public confidence, (the way to do) it is to remove all of them (the present EC members) and replace them with people who enjoy public confidence and is of the highest integrity.

“The solution is very straightforward. Let the people in civil society recommend who should be members of the EC; it is a very simple solution,” she said.

DAP supremo Lim Kit Siang similarly echoed Ambiga, saying even though Najib’s move was in the “right direction”, the EC must start with a clean slate by replacing its chief and deputy chief, presently Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof and Wan Ahmad Wan Omar respectively.

“The present chairperson and deputy chairperson had operated as if they are BN protagonists and politicians in taking on Pakatan Rakyat leaders,” he said in a statement today.

The Gelang Patah MP said while the announcement was too preliminary to comment fully, the PM should have consulted Pakatan MPs for input first.

“It would have been more proper for Najib to have full consultation with the Pakatan Rakyat MPs on the this proposal before any announcement is made – so that it would be seen as an innovation which has received bipartisan discussion and support, including the full details involved,” he added.

…more
Ambiga: PM’s panel not okay, EC heads must go
Nigel Aw
June 1, 2013 – Malaysiakini




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