CSOs express concern over upcoming appointment of new EC chairperson in Malaysia

In an open letter, civil society organizations in Malaysia including ANFREL member the Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (BERSIH), expressed "utmost concern" on the upcoming appointment of a new Election Commission (EC) chairperson.

The letter said the appointments of two EC commissioners under the current government's administration were done without going through Parliament and cannot be repeated for the appointment of the EC chairperson.

The undersigned organizations and individuals cited the crucial role of the EC chairperson on the "unprecedented responsibility of addressing the re-delineation of electoral boundaries after the implementation of Undi18 and separately, automatic voter registration (AVR)."

In the letter, they presented data demonstration AVR and Undi18 resulted in worsened malapportionment which "necessitates the redrawing of electoral boundaries."

They urged the government to take the following steps immediately:

a) Announce the new EC chairperson will be nominated and vetted by a Parliamentary Standing Committee on Electoral Affairs. This Standing Committee should include bipartisan MPs and establish a clear process and criteria for appointing the new EC Chairperson. Only after Parliament has approved the candidacy, the candidate can be presented to the King for official appointment.
b) Ensure that the candidate adheres to criteria such as fairness, integrity, and an independent and proactive mindset to propose and implement reforms. This would entail them not having membership in any political party or having held key positions in a political party. Further, they should not have a criminal record or have committed any serious election offenses. The ultimate criteria must be that the individual appointed should be competent, experienced, and have the relevant knowledge in matters related to elections, its laws, operations, and administration.
c. Convene a special parliamentary sitting, if necessary, to start the process for this major appointment.

Read the full open letter here: "An Open Letter to Prime Minister Dato Seri Anwar Ibrahim on the Appointment of New Election Commission Chairperson"


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