Committee: Election reforms politically neutral, won’t benefit any one party

Electoral Reform Committee (ERC) chairman Tan Sri Abdul Rashid Abdul Rahman said the reforms are there to make sure a clean, free and unbiased election takes place. — Picture by Farhan Najib
Electoral Reform Committee (ERC) chairman Tan Sri Abdul Rashid Abdul Rahman said the reforms are there to make sure a clean, free and unbiased election takes place. — Picture by Farhan Najib

PUTRAJAYA, Aug 27 — The Electoral Reforms Committee (ERC) has assured voters today that its recommendations to Putrajaya will neither benefit nor be detrimental to any existing or future political parties.

Its chairman Tan Sri Abdul Rashid Abdul Rahman said the reforms are there to make sure a clean, free and unbiased election takes place.

“These are not political; they are completely out of politics,” Abdul Rashid told the press, referring to the reforms.

“There are no parties that will benefit or lose out. All parties will be free from any biased situation. The idea that some parties think that they will lose out due to the reforms or that something is cooking up here that will result in unfair treatment against them is untrue.

“We will take care of all parties and they don’t have to worry about election management, they must only worry about how they are going to get the votes from the people. This is what we’re trying to do for the country.

“Please do not accuse us of making these for someone in particular. Nothing for anybody, it’s for the whole country,” he added.

He was responding to the media’s query on what would happen to these reforms in the event of a change of government.

Abdul Rashid added that a lot of the proposals they recommended were from thorough research that involved all relevant parties, from voters to the agencies running the elections.

He said one of the main recommendations was to give the Election Commission (EC) some power to govern elections as right now their hands are tied and they are always blamed for being biased. This was in recommendation number 10 for the registration of political parties to be conducted by the EC.

“We and everyone wants the EC to be more responsible for elections so give them some teeth. When political parties misbehave we should give the EC some power so they can reprimand these offenders,” he said.

“There can be an element of punishment in there as well. Mind you, I am not trying to demean the Registry of Societies Malaysia but I feel they may not be able to control these political parties during an election, that’s not their function that is the EC’s but now they have no power.”

Abdul Rashid said when it comes to registration political parties in many other countries this duty is the responsibility of the election management body.

He also said that as far as campaign finances is concerned there must be an audit. That should also be the role of the EC.

“In all developed countries, the monitoring of all transactions involving money is done by the electoral body.

“I think it’s about time after 63 years of independence we should also start monitoring finances and that should be one of the new functions of the main electoral body,” he added.

“We do not want one party with mountains of cash to cause mischief during elections and subsequently end up winning it. This should not happen anymore and is against the law.”

The ERC has sent a report to Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin today with 49 recommendations for electoral changes after two years of research and study.

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