Electoral Reforms Committee: Over 30 recommendations can be achieved within three years

Electoral Reforms Committee chairman Tan Sri Ab Rashid Ab Rahman said politics will play a part in reforms but at the same time if the Election Commission is given more help, these reforms can happen sooner. — Picture by Farhan Najib
Electoral Reforms Committee chairman Tan Sri Ab Rashid Ab Rahman said politics will play a part in reforms but at the same time if the Election Commission is given more help, these reforms can happen sooner. — Picture by Farhan Najib

PUTRAJAYA, Aug 27 ― The Electoral Reforms Committee (ERC) said today around 32 of its 49 recommendations to Putrajaya can happen in the next two to three years, but the remainder will take a decade or more.

Its chairman Tan Sri Ab Rashid Ab Rahman said politics will play a part in reforms but at the same time if the Election Commission (EC) is given more help, these reforms can happen sooner.

“These recommendations will take many years to be put in place. If you’re asking me in three months it’s not enough,” he told the media.

“If the present government is in for another three years then probably half of what we recommended can be put into practice. Beyond that I am not sure to be honest, since we just sent in the report today.

“There are about 37 suggestions that can be done within three years, the rest will take five to 10 years. Bear in mind these changes involve a lot of rule amendments and some regarding the law so it’s going to take quite some time.”

Ab Rashid gave the example of Indonesia’s reform movement which took 20 years, and is still ongoing. He said even then the republic has now achieved 90 per cent of their goals.

Meanwhile, he said New Zealand took 12 years while Australia took around the same time for them to complete the entire electoral reforms process.

Ab Rashid said he hopes to do things quickly with a larger work force and hopes to have a specific body to monitor and help them with the reforms.

“If not, we do a little bit here, little bit there and in the end it’ll take a long time to establish the system and the people will be angry and anxious accusing us of not doing work and so on,” he explained.

Besides that, one of the recommendations for reforms included replacing the “first-past-the-post” system for state legislative seats, with the proportionate representation system instead.

Ab Rashid said the system was seen as an improvement and he felt the current government would be open to it and it can be done in Malaysia.

“That is the best thing, for the time being, we can advance. Perhaps later on they can further improve on that system.

“It is not easy as that system alone has three of four types that are practised on the ground. Ours is very simple. It is a proportionate system that is suitable for the country now,” he said.

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