Malaysia: Calls for electoral overhaul

2012-04-03 12:59
Kuala Lumpur - A Malaysian parliamentary panel on Tuesday cited widespread deficiencies in the country's electoral system and backed changes that were championed by a mass vote-reform protest last year.

The panel was set up by Prime Minister Najib Razak in October, three months after police crushed the rally by tens of thousands in Kuala Lumpur, earning condemnation at home and abroad.

The final report tabled in parliament recommends ensuring the independence of the Election Commission (EC) amid allegations of ruling-coalition bias, and allowing the opposition access to mainstream media, among other reforms.

However, opposition politicians, who were represented on the panel, said it did not sufficiently address concerns about alleged widespread irregularities in the voter roll.

Speculation is mounting that Najib will call elections within months, a contest expected to be extremely close after the long-ruling coalition had its worst showing ever in polls in 2008.

Electoral reform pressure group Bersih 2.0, which organised the rally along with the opposition in July, has said it may call for a new protest if its demands on reform are not met.

Registration fraud

Police broke up the July rally using tear gas and water cannon, and 1 600 people were arrested.

"The panel suggests that all the recommendations in this report be considered to improve the electoral process and strengthen the EC to guarantee free and fair elections," the report said.

It also called for a clean-up of the electoral roll amid reports of irregularities, such as dozens of people being registered at a single address.

Hatta Ramli, an opposition parliamentarian and panel member, criticised the report's recommendations on handling of the voter roll as insufficient.

"It concerns one of the principle matters. We are not very happy with the way the report is presented," he said.

The independent National Institute for Electoral Integrity released a statement saying it "cautiously welcomes" the panel report, but said that with polls looming the report lacks "specific short-term recommendations" and also urged a total overhaul of the EC.

Media access

The report also called on the commission to devise a legal framework for allowing Malaysians living abroad - estimated at one million people - to vote. Malaysia has a population of 28 million people.

It urged "free and fair media access" for all parties but gave no specific recommendations.

All mainstream media in Malaysia are government-controlled, forcing the opposition led by Anwar Ibrahim to use the Internet to get its message out.

Outspoken Bersih 2.0 co-chairperson Ambiga Sreenevasan declined immediate comment on the report but said the group would issue a statement soon.

Parliament was to debate the report on Tuesday before voting on whether to endorse it.

- SAPA
Read more on:    malaysia
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/Sport
 

3 sports games you have to watch this weekend

Whether it’s date night or a braai with buddies, plan around these three exciting sporting games!

 
 

Men24.com

Everyday struggles of naturally skinny guys
And this year's Miss Bumbum title goes to...
How to maintain your mo, bro
Hottie of the day: Colette

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

20% off ALL TV Series

Choose from 1000’s of the hottest TV Series . While stocks last. Shop now!

Festive gifts!

Check out our awesome range of festive gifts to make everyone’s wishes come true. Shop now!

Seen something you like in our catalogue?

Find the perfect gift and save up to R5000 – As seen on the catalogue. Hurry and shop now!

Save up to R2200 on electronics! – As seen in the catalogue

Wishing for tech gadgets this festive? Save up to R2100 on hot tech products at kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 35% off books

Save up to 35% on the latest page-turners. While stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

There is a strong focus on social interaction and connecting with your friends. You may have the need to expand and connect with a...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.