The Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (Bersih 2.0) will be looking forward to the appointment of the new Election Commission (EC) chairman to replace Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof who will be retiring from his post soon.
Bersih chairman Maria Chin Abdullah said that Abdul Aziz should be retiring as he turned 66 soon, which, according to Article 114 (3) was beyond the age limit of 65 to work in the EC.
“Bersih welcomes the new appointment, with the consent of the Council of Rulers and hopes that the responsibility and the mandate given (to the successor) will be for the better.
“With regards to that, we are compelled to share institutional improvement proposals that we believe should be done through a healthy democracy in our beloved country,” said Maria when met by reporters at a press conference on the appointment of the new EC chairman today.
In the meantime, Bersih proposed that the EC be placed under the jurisdiction of the Parliament and was accountable to Parliament instead of any minister from the executive wing.
“A bipartisan Special Committee should be established to receive the reports from EC on a regular basis to ensure the accountability of the EC to the Parliament.
“We also propose that in the future the EC should establish a selection committee made up of leaders of government and opposition to make the appointment of nomination and public hearings free from any influence of political parties.
“In addition, we also urge the Assistant Registrar of political parties to be restored back in order to help EC to conduct registration and revision to avoid being used by any political party like how Special Affairs Department (Jasa) is doing propaganda for political parties,” he said.
Meanwhile, Bersih activist Rama Ramanathan said the time had come to change the system used by EC for the 14th General Election (GE).
“It is difficult to assess the performance of a person who has responsibility for the past six years, because since Abdul Aziz assumed the post, he left many questions whether the EC conducted their duties justly or not.
“Therefore, the new appointment is expected to vindicate the EC and to restore the faith of Malaysians in the organization because every year there is an increase in the number of voters, but they are still not registered,” he said.
He added that the EC should act as a ”watch dog” or ”guardian” for Malaysia instead of acting as a bus driver for the Barisan National (BN).
“I hope that the new chairman will no longer act as such because what people want is a clean voting system unlike the last general election,” he said.
Also present were Thomas Fann and Ng Geok Chee.