Call on Election Commission to set up mechanisms to  work closely with all political parties  on three important election issues to highlight its independent,  non-partisan and non-subservient  role to conduct free and fair elections as mandated by the Constitution

Media Statement 
by Lim Kit Siang

(Petaling Jaya,  Sunday): The Election Commission should  set up mechanisms to work closely with  all political parties  on three important issues to highlight its independent,  non-partisan and non-subservient  role to conduct free and fair elections as mandated by the Malaysian Constitution.  

These three issues are:  

Firstly, a six-month nation-wide operation to clean up the national electoral roll of phantom voters so as to produce a clean and reliable electoral list.  

Under the Election Amendment Bill passed by the Dewan Rakyat the previous week, the compensation  payable by a complainant who lodges an objection without reasonable cause or good faith  over the insertion of a  voter’s name on the electoral roll will be raised  from RM200 to  RM1,000.   

This reflected a most perverted sense of priorities by Members of Parliament who  voted for the amendment bill, when the  most important and urgent challenge at the moment is to clean up the electoral roll of  its teeming phantom voters instead of making it a prohibitive exercise for the public to come forward to complain about phantom voters who neither reside nor work in the address given in the electoral register.  

Before the new election amendment bill becomes law, which would make it too costly and prohibitive for anyone to perform the public duty to draw the attention of the Election Commission to the existence of any phantom voter, the Election Commission should launch a six-month operation with the co-operation of all political parties to clean up the electoral roll and to rid it of as many phantom voters as possible.  

Secondly, the Election Commission should operate in an open and transparent manner in the redelineation exercise for parliamentary and state assembly constituencies.  

In the recent Dewan Rakyat meeting, the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Tan Sri Bernard Dompok said the constituency redelineation exercise would be completed within two years although the  date for the start of exercise had not been determined yet. 

This is most  unsatisfactory as well as unfair, as it is an open secret that in previous constituency redelineation exercises, the ruling  Barisan Nasional coalition parties in the various states were either  closely involved or informed of the various stages of the redelineation exercise, and were able to give inputs on the specific proposals before draft proposals were made public by the Election Commission for public inspection and inviting public representation.  

The Election Commission should not just allow the ruling Barisan Nasional component parties access whether in terms of input or information during the constituency redelineation exercise but must allow similar access to the Opposition parties - and this is why the Election Commission should establish a liaison committee with all political parties on this matter. 

The third election issue which the Election Commission should work with an all-party group is the Election Offences (Amendment) Bill, which was not passed by the recent  Dewan Rakyat for lack of time.  The Election Offences (Amendment) Bill contains provisions, particularly the “super sedition offence” clause,   which constitute grave threats to a healthy and vibrant democratic system by making a  free, fair and clean elections in Malaysia an impossibility. 

The Election Commission should establish an  all-party election laws review committee to give greater in-depth study to the Election Offences (Amendment) Bill and election laws in general to ensure that they do  not institutionalise and legalise electoral abuses and malpractices, particularly money politics, or  criminalise free and fair election campaigning so as to restore public confidence that free, fair and clean elections could be conducted in Malaysia.  


*Lim Kit Siang - DAP National Chairman