The Electoral Reform Committee (ERC) has just submitted its interim report and recommendations to the Prime Minister. The ERC should be commended for having carried out extensive research and engagement with stakeholders.
The Prime Minister must now make the interim report public in the interest of transparency and to obtain further feedback from a wider range of stakeholders. Otherwise, all the good work of the ERC would be wasted.
The interim report should be used as an opportunity to generate public discussion and to gauge consensus on the various electoral reform issues. For example, more public discussion is definitely needed on whether or not Malaysia should replace the first-past-the-post system with a proportional representation system.
This is the sensible thing to do because only then can the ERC further improve its recommendations, before delivering the full and final report by August 2020.
Parliament will also have an important role to play with regards to electoral reform. The Pakatan Harapan government has empowered parliament to do this by setting up the Special Select Committee on Elections.
As a member of the Special Select Committee on Elections, I will be proposing to the chairperson to make the ERC interim report the first agenda of the committee.
Electoral reform is one of the main promises made in the Pakatan Harapan Manifesto. It is a crucial reform that will determine the strength of Malaysia’s democracy in the future.
Therefore, I urge the Prime Minister to take the first step by making the ERC’s interim report public.