While some quarters have hailed the setting up of the parliamentary select committee on electoral reform announced Monday by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, others are awaiting for more details on the panel.
The MCA, Gerakan, MIC and Transparency International Malaysia are among the organisations which have welcomed the proposed panel. Opposition political party PAS wants to know about the composition of the panel and its terms of reference while a DAP MP has demanded government sincerity in the matter. Najib had made the announcement when addressing a ‘buka puasa’ (breaking-of-the-fast) gathering with the media hosted by Malaysian National News Agency, Bernama, at Wisma Bernama here Monday night.
He had said that the committee would comprise representatives from the government and opposition parties and would discuss all electoral reform issues well before the next general election to eliminate any suspicion of manipulation.
MCA deputy president Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai told Bernama the government’s intention to set up the panel reflected its sincerity in wanting to see transparency in the country’s elections. Not only the opposition but also the government wanted clean and fair elections, he said, adding that the government would also criticise the Election Commission (EC) if there were irregularities in the election process.
Gerakan president Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon said in a statement that the bipartisan committee was the most appropriate and transparent means of addressing the various issues and concerns raised. He said the committee should ask the EC to make presentations and explanations and also hold public hearings in various regions to allow the people to present their views and suggestions.
MIC president Datuk G Palanivel described Najib’s announcement as a bold move which he said would further strengthen democracy and improve the perception of voters.
Transparency International Malaysia (TI-M) president Datuk Paul Low said the announcement of the panel was a positive move on the part of the government, and added that a review and reform of Malaysia’s electoral system was long overdue.
He said the committee should be given the mandate and power to recommend all necessary action which would ensure that elections in Malaysia were conducted in a free, fair and transparent manner.