Make permament the PSC on electoral reform

The National Institute of Electoral Integrity (NIEI) welcomes the government's decision to withdraw the controversial 2012 Election Offences Amendment Bill.

NIEI takes note that the Bill has drawn criticism on its hasty tabling in the Dewan Rakyat as well as its weak provisions due to lack of consultation and study.

NIEI hereby states that the 2012 Bill was indeed drawn up short of critical input and best practices in terms of election offences and its procedures due to the haste, hence raising a bigger concern on the progress and implementation of the recommendations made by the parliamentary select committee on electoral reform (PSCER).

NIEI is of the position that the post PSCER implementation is indeed unclear as a proper monitoring and oversight mechanism is lacking.

The lack of clear processes, timelines and specific recommendations could undermine the electoral reform process..

NIEI hereby calls on the prime minister to make the PSCER a taskforce and monitoring agency on to see that the reforms are carried out within clear and specific timelines.

We also seek for relevant NGOs to be made consultative partners to the committee to view and implement the reforms according to the principles of free and fair elections.

NIEI believes reform is a continuous process and the government and the agencies involved must look into examples of best practices and reform procedures and other critical areas regularly.

This is vital in terms of prescribing working mechanisms and procedures that are transparent and objective.

The select committee is an important in terms of growing public interest and concern over electoral reforms in Malaysia.

It should be a guide and oversee the reform process with a mechanism that is inclusive and transparent.

K Shan is acting chairperson for the National Institute for Electoral Integrity (NIEi).