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Other electoral commissioners need to go as well

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The Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (Bersih 2.0) welcomes Electioral Commission chairman Hashim Abdullah’s decision to go on early retirement from 1 July.

We question the delay in Hashim’s decision as calls for his removal have been made known since the 9 May general election. We also remind the authorities to ensure that no critical information or evidence regarding possible tampering, manipulation and rigging of the election is destroyed, modified or hidden.

Bersih 2.0 calls on the other six commissioners to tender their resignation immediately for their failure to uphold, defend and implement the democratic right to vote as well as the principles of clean, free and fair elections.

Hashim’s retirement is not a sacking borne out of acknowledgement of the Electoral Commission’s lack of competency, integrity and credibility. Moreover, there are still six commissioners in the commission.

We therefore call for a royal commission of inquiry to be set up to look into electoral fraud and offences which took place during the general election and to investigate the role played by – or the failure of – the commissioners in addressing these issues. The inquiry must be completed within six months of its inception.

With the position of Electoral Commission chairperson vacant, Bersih 2.0 views this as an opportunity for the government to show its commitment to electoral reform by appointing a reform -minded person of high integrity who will assist in reforming the electoral system as outlined in Bersih 2.0’s election reform action plan.

As an interim measure, to fill the current vacant position of Electoral Commission chairperson, we call on the prime minister to be open and transparent in this exercise of searching for the best candidate. Nominations from civil society and the public should be considered.

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For the long-term reform of the appointment process of electoral commissioners, which will require amendments to the Federal Constitution and the Election Commission Act, Bersih 2.0 calls on the government to establish an election commission nomination committee, consisting of representatives from the three branches of government, statutory bodies and civil society representatives to receive and screen applicants.

Public hearings should be held for shortlisted candidates, including processes the public to view the candidates’ CVs and submit representations.

The committee will submit its nominated candidates to Parliament for approval, after which they will be presented to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong for approval and appointment.

Bersih 2.0 steering committee

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