The National Institute for Electoral Integrity (NIEI) cautiously welcomes the Parliamentary Select Committee Report on Electoral Reforms tabled in Dewan Rakyat today for debate.
NIEI views that the PSC Report contains few positive long term general recommendations. While key issues pertaining to the voter registration process and the electoral roll have been noted, the Report lacks specific short term recommendations to address the key concerns that the very same Committee has raised in the Report.
We are of the view that the current concern and development in addressing the allegations of irregularities in the Electoral Roll requires an urgent and more comprehensive reform with clear and specific recommendations. We are of the view that there is a growing negative perception on the Voter Registration and on the Election Commission that have created a major crisis of confidence in our electoral system.
To address this crisis, it is fundamental for a total reform in the structure and composition of the Election Commission as well as to include legal accountability for parties to seek redress on the irregularities in the electoral roll.
NIEI on 30th of March made its recommendations on the reform of the electoral roll and on the Election Commission based on an audit conducted on the voter registration by the Merdeka Center. The recommendations among other;
1) To abolish the ouster clause Section 9A of the Election Act 1958 that prohibit judicial scrutiny on the electoral roll immediately with a view to strengthen check and balance on the integrity of electoral roll in an free, open and fair judicial process.
2) To amend the Election Act 1958 to allow for full gazette of the Electoral Roll and ensure that the Electoral Roll be disseminated via multiple means including the internet and to be made available for public inspection with a clear 14 days notice for objection through a Voter Information Notice. The Notice shall be posted in each locality in every public place and a personal notice via post to be sent to all senior citizens and disabled persons. The announcement of the notice, as in the location of the pasted notice and the time line and procedure of protest must be announced in the local newspaper and media within a reasonable time.
Please visit www.niei.org.my for the full report for further reference.
NIEI is of the view that the PSC report should not be the single and final document of reference in addressing the current concerns and prescribing reforms. We believe that all other reports and studies should be referred to as a parallel guiding document to facilitate the reforms necessary.
We hereby call upon the Prime Minister, in view of the impending general election, to implement the recommendations mentioned above and initiate steps to implement all other recommendations made in the Audit report and the PSC report and postpone the election until these reforms are put in place.