Ec Appointment Shrouded In Secrecy Deputy Chairperson


 


Deputy Election Commission (EC) chairperson Azmi Sharom has called for transparency in the appointment of commissioners in the agency.
Azmi admitted that the appointment process of EC commissioners, himself included, is “shrouded in secrecy and opaque practices”.
“Perhaps, it is time to throw light upon this process. It is not unprecedented in our country to have a change in appointment processes,” he said during his speech at the Bersih Congress held at the Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall today.
“The existence of the Judicial Appointment Commission is the clearest example of how a process that was once unknown is at least now subject to a more open process,” he added.
He stressed that transparency is a vital element in the move forward for electoral reform, saying it must be done with “an unshakable adherence to the principles of democracy”.
On May 9, election watchdog Bersih accused Pakatan Harapan and BN of breaking their promises twice since the general election for appointing two key EC members, namely Sapdin Ibrahim and Lee Bee Phang, without an open and transparent process.
Tindak Malaysia raised similar concerns, calling for constitutional amendments concerning appointments of the EC chairperson and commissioners to inspire public confidence.
Former deputy minister Ong Kian Ming also echoed calls for the next EC chairperson’s name to be submitted to the Parliamentary Special Select Committee on Human Rights, Election and Institutional Reform before being put to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong for consideration.
Ong said this is because the EC chief's position will impact institutional and electoral reforms for decades to come.
The position of EC chairperson fell vacant on May 9 when Abdul Ghani Salleh retired upon reaching 66 years old.
Polling system ‘second to none’
Azmi believed “wholeheartedly” that the nation’s polling system is “second to none”.
He commended the measures put in place, which ensured that votes were properly counted.
“The polling and counting agent (Paca) system along with the observers now, who are commonly placed in our elections, has meant that any accusations of vote rigging are facetious and mischievous to the extreme,” he said.
However, he said this does not detract from the desperate need for reform to occur, saying it has to be implemented now.
“If we value our democracy, we must constantly ensure its good health.
“Complacency will only lead to the loss of what we should hold dear.” - Mkini


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