Act and be seen as independent, EC told

16 Feb 2014 / 18:51 H.

    KUALA LUMPUR (Feb 16, 2014): The Election Commission (EC) often seems more like a representative of the government rather than an independent body, a former deputy minister said.
    Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah said this is evident in a debate involving the body and former Bersih 2.0 co-chairman Datuk S Ambiga.
    "During a debate between the EC deputy chairman and Ambiga that was organised by Sinar Harian, the EC was seen defending the government rather than their own credibility," Saifuddin said in a pre-recorded video message at an electoral reform forum here.
    Saifuddin, who is former deputy minister of higher education and Global Movement of Moderates (GMM) chief executive, said the EC lacks passion in their duty to ensure a free and fair election and can often be seen as bias.
    Furthermore, he said the EC seems defensive or just plain silent on major issues raised by electoral reform groups such as on phantom voters, equal access to mainstream media, and malapportionment.
    He then urged the EC to engage with the electorate during the redelineation exercise to ensure that their views are noted and constituency boundaries are redrawn in a satisfactory manner.
    "The EC had already announced the redelineation exercise, which could take about two years to complete; there needs to be more consultation with the public before the new boundaries are announced," Saifuddin said.
    He also urged the public to be ready to do their part if the EC failed to engage with the electorate when redrawing constituency boundaries.
    "The public will have a month to push for a review when it (redelineation) is done. Are we ready to have 100 voters in each constituency protest over the boundaries?" Saifuddin asked.
    He also opined that correcting the malapportionment of voters in constituencies should be the EC's priority during their redelineation exercise.

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