The Appointment Process of New EC Members Contravenes Manifesto and Reformasi Spirit

The Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (BERSIH) expresses disappointment with the latest appointment of Election Commission (EC) member without parliamentary review. The EC , through a post on their Facebook page, welcomed its newest member, Datuk Haji Sapdin bin Ibrahim, who began his duties on Monday (6 May). This latest development is very disappointing and shows that Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim and the Unity Government are not serious about reforming the Election Commission.

Both PH and BN are the largest components of the current Madani Government, but both coalitions are not respecting the manifesto they themselves drafted, thereby reinforcing the perception that the Madani Government is not serious about efforts to reform institutions and bring a more progressive and inclusive political culture.

BERSIH wants to remind all that both Pakatan Harapan (PH) and Barisan Nasional (BN) have promised that key appointments would be reviewed through the Special Parliamentary Committee. The 15th promise in Buku Harapan the manifesto for GE15 was to strengthen institutional integrity states that key positions such as the Election Commission, the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission, and the Inspector-General of Police need to be reviewed by Parliament first. The same promise is also stated in the Plan of Action and Effort (PADU) document from BN, which was the theme of BN's manifesto for GE15. That document outlines the need to establish a parliamentary committee to recommend and screen key positions to the Election Commission, the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission, and the Governor of Bank Negara.

The Madani Government can only make amends for this failure by immediately announcing that the process of appointing a new Election Commission Chairman after the retirement of Tan Sri Abdul Ghani Salleh will be carried out through the establishment of a Parliamentary Standing Committee on Electoral Affairs. This Standing Committee should comprise bipartisan Members of Parliament and set clear processes and criteria for appointing a new Election Commission Chairman. Criteria such as fairness, integrity, a progressive mindset and determination to implement reforms, not a member of political party nor held key positions in a political party, knowledge in election-related matters, and no record of criminal or serious electoral offenses must be key criteria for the position of an Election Commission Chairman.

If this is not implemented, the Madani Government and the Prime Minister can no longer use the word reform, which so far has been nothing more than lip service. The public will continue to question the extent of the commitment to the reform that has been touted.

Released by:
The Steering Committee of BERSIH

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