Proham in a statement today said there has been a public loss of confidence in the Election Commission and the electoral process as a whole. — file pic
KUALA LUMPUR, June
3 — Putrajaya must focus on promised reforms in the next month ahead of
national polls to resolve the “electoral crisis” instead of getting defensive
over the chaos of the April 28 rally, human rights watchdog Proham said today.
The ex-human rights
commissioners group wants the federal government to set up a permanent
monitoring committee to oversee the 22 points proposed by a temporary
parliamentary panel set up last year to boost flagging public confidence in the
Election Commission (EC).
It also wants the EC to set up
a separate supervisory unit that includes civil society electoral watchdogs “to
resolve the electoral reform crisis and the lack of confidence in the electoral
“This is causing the loss of
confidence in the Election Commission and the whole electoral process,” Proham
said in a statement today.
The watchdog said the election
regulator cannot shirk its responsibilities by passing the buck to the National
Registration Department (NRD) as the lawful authority dealing with registration
but must work with it to weed out “phantom voters” and other irregularities
from the electoral roll.
“Proham urges the NRD to
cooperate with the EC to clarify the date these foreign-named voters were
granted citizenship and the duration in which they have stayed in Malaysia,” it
The EC had come under fire for
its delay and superficial response to “many allegations of failure to clean up
the electoral roll and the absence of time lines and target dates to carry out
the recommendations of the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC)”, Proham said.
Proham cited an independent
report that showed a list of 50 people in the Johor Baru parliamentary
constituency of Kampung Majidee Melayu who shared the same address and were
registered as voters despite being foreign-born.
“They have ‘code 71’ in their ICs (MyKads) which show they
are not born in Malaysia and they all have the same address with no house
numbers, some silat centre... which makes them highly dubious as possible
phantom voters,” Proham secretary-general Datuk Denison Jayasooria toldThe Malaysian Insiderwhen
Proham said it was concerned
because the names had suddenly appeared on the electoral roll after May 2011.
In contrast, names listed prior to that could be accounted for as they were all
registered to Malaysia-born citizens and all had addresses detailing relevant
house numbers and street names.
It also asked the EC to verify
a claim by Klang MP Charles Santiago that 3,457 voters had been questionably
“transferred out” of his constituency.
Proham said the EC must work
with the Attorney General’s Chambers, the Bar Council, Bersih and the PSD to
come out with proposals to amend the law to immediately give the authorities
the necessary power to clean up the dubious electoral roll within the next
month and on a regular basis.
Electoral reform movement
Bersih, led by Datuk Seri Ambiga Sreenevasan, has been lobbying the Najib
administration to clean up the election process and make it more transparent,
and held two street demonstrations on July 9 last year and another on April 28
to draw support for the cause.
The government has been hit by
widespread criticism following its harsh measures at crowd control and has
recently taken to suing Bersih’s leaders for damages under a new law allowing
public assemblies that was enforced just days before the April 28 rally.