Election Commission Chairman, Deputy Chairman and five other Commissioner should all resign as they have forfeited public confidence which is the most important constitutional criteria of their appointment
-Lim Kit Siang
The Election Commission Chairman Tan Sri Abdul Aziz bin Mohd Yusof, Deputy Chairman Datuk Wan Ahmad bin Wan Omar and the five other Commissioners should all resign as they have forfeited public confidence in their failure to conduct a free, fair and clean 13th general elections, which is the most important constitutional criteria for their appointment and continued service.
Article 114 of the Constitution provides that the Election Commission shall be appointed by the Yang di Pertuan Agong after consultation with the Conference of Rulers and that in appointing members of the Election Commission, the Yang di Pertuan Agong shall have regard to the importance of securing an Election Commission which enjoys public confidence.
After the 13GE, electoral management became a major controversy because of the failure of the Election Commission to carry out its constitutional mandate under Article 113 to “conduct elections” in the 13GE, which I have consistently argued in Parliament since the 70s that this constitutional duty implicitly connotes the conduct of “clean, free and fair elections”.
This is where the Election Commission has failed, whether in the very delible “indelible ink”; an electoral roll which is disreputable, unclean and not comprehensive; an election campaign marred by the worst electoral offences and corrupt practices in nation’s history in particular the blatant, flagrant and unconscionable last week of the general election campaign in Penang when Penangites did not have to cook with the week-long feast of free food, free drinks, free entertaintment and free lucky draws of very expensive gifts just to topple the Pakatan Rakyat state government; the one-sided printed media slant against Pakatan Rakyat and the shameless abuse of government 3Ms, media, machinery and money!
For the first time in the nation’s 56-year history in 13 general elections, the Election Commission has produced a general election result which has caused the appointment of the Prime Minister whose legitimacy is powerfully questioned, as reflected in the nation-wide Black 505 rallies since the 13th General Elections and even up to now, some seven weeks after the 13GE.
There can be no question that the Election Commission has come out of the 13GE with its reputation dimmed and stature diminished, and the present Election Commission members, led by its Chairman and Deputy Chairman, have failed to secure public confidence to justify their continuation in office.
Abdul Aziz, Wan Ahmad and the other five Commissioners should in all humility and as acts of patriotism submit their resignation, which will allow the country to have a new start to revamp the election system so that Malaysians can stand tall in the world as having an electoral system which can be model of all other countries in ensuring clean, free and fair elections.
At present, the Election Commission has three constitutional duties to firstly, conduct of elections; secondly, prepare the electoral register through the registration of voters; and thirdly, the redelineation of constituencies.
The splitting of all these constitutional duties under three separate authorities, as is done in other countries, will be one way to restore public confidence in the electoral management in the country, whether in the membership of the Commission or the electoral system and laws in the country.
Let us have an Election Commission which is solely tasked with the responsibilities of conduct of clean, free and fair elections, with all the necessary powers to ensure that all these electoral criteria are met, including prosecuting offenders or even suspending elections which run afoul of the relevant electoral criteria.
The other two functions, registering voters and preparing the electoral register and the other important ask of redelineation of electoral boundaries should be carried out by two other separate agencies or authorities through fair, efficient, accountable and transparent processes.
(Speech at the first of Malaysian Dream series forum organized by the DAP Gelang Patah DAP Parliamentary Office on “Malaysia Post 13thGE – Challenges and Opportunities” held at 11@Century Hotel Johor Baru on Wednesday 19th June 2013)