PSC report: Onus on EC to implement indelible ink

Tarani Palani | November 30, 2011

The PSC report on electoral reforms has taken into consideration the immediate concerns over the country's electoral process.

KUALA LUMPUR: The Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) on electoral reforms has highlighted the fact that no changes are needed to be made to the Federal Constitution to implement the use of indelible ink in the up-coming general election.

The PSC’s preliminary report also put the onus of introducing indelible ink on the Election Commission.

Sources said the report, due to be tabled later today and debated tomorrow, stated that it is the Election Commission which must hasten the process to make changes to the regulations to bring the indelible ink into effect.

Prepared by the bipartisan committee, the source added that PSC had clearly recommended that indelible ink be used in the 13th general election.

The PSC recommendations were based on wide-ranging concerns raised by many quarters over the irregularities of the electoral process.

The committee in its report also made nine other recommendations to clean-up the electoral roll.

One recommendation was for Mimos Berhad, strategic agency under purview of the Science, Technology and Innovation Ministry (Mosti), to oversee verifications on hotly contested issues such as two voters with same identification cards, many voters registered under the same address and deceased voters who are still on the electoral roll, among others.

The other recommendations included the expansion of oversea absentee voters and even an establishment of a Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) to look into alleged illegal immigrants who are offered citizenship and are subsequently turned into voters.

Based on many of the grievances voiced during the PSC’s public hearing in Kota Kinabalu last Friday, the committee suggested that an RCI be established as a long term solution to look into allegations that illegal immigrants were turned to voters.

It also suggests that the EC specially verify Sabah’s electoral list.

Other recommendations inked by the PSC are:

  • Early voting for all armed forces personnel, policemen and their spouses. Officers and spouses who are unable to do so may be allowed to vote via post.
  • The EC should extend its absentee overseas voters category to include eligible Malaysians living abroad.
  • Out-of-area voters such as East Malaysian residing in Peninsular Malaysia or vice-versa should be allowed to vote on election day wherever they are without having to return to their original registered voting locations. The EC should create a designated space for these out-of-area voters.
  • EC must make sure that any change of registration area (change of voting stations) is accompanied by a Statuary Declaration (SD) by the applicant.
  • Display of additional voters list be extended from seven to 14 days, to remove the RM10 charge for objections raised and to abolish the maximum number of objection which can be raised.
  • EC should also amend regulations to enable objections to be made against the main electoral roll.
  • Serial number on ballot paper be abolished and only to appear on the counterfoil to protect identification of voters.
  • Any Malaysian above 21-years-old be able to assist the blind or physically challenged to mark their votes in the ballot paper. Currently only family members of the disabled may be able to assist.
  • Current practice of candidates being unable to withdraw their nominations and objection process on nomination day to be abolished.
  • To strengthen the EC by giving it more manpower and more allocation to act independently.

DAP welcomes report

In an immediate response, DAP secretary general Lim Guan Eng said his party supported the PSC’s recommendations.

“More things can be done to make it better but as an interim report, we give our interim support,” said Lim who is also the Penang Chief Minister.

“The 10 recommendations took into consideration Bersih and many civil societies’ demands for a fair and clean electoral process,” he told reporters in parliament today.

He urged proposed recommendations to be implemented in time for the next general election.

DAP’s representative in the PSC, Anthony Loke said that Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak must respect the proposals made by the parliamentary committee.

“The onus is now on the EC to implement the changes, there should be no more excuses such as logistics,” said the Rasah MP.

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