Current Affairs, Featured, National

Is PN committed to electoral reform? Then make the interim ERC report public!

I refer to the Minister’s reply to my parliamentary question dated 16 July 2020 with regards to the interim report of the Electoral Reform Committee (ERC).

The ERC was set up by the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government in August 2018 to review and make relevant recommendations for electoral reforms.

Source: The Star

In my parliamentary question, I have asked the government to provide the details of the recommendations made by the ERC in the interim report and whether or not the government will make the interim report public in order to allow for feedback.

The Minister did not address any of those queries. He merely confirms that the interim report has been submitted on 13 January 2020 and that the final report will be submitted by August 2020.

As such, I take it that the government does not want to make the ERC’s interim report public. This is highly regrettable for several reasons.

First, the government will miss the opportunity to gather wider feedback from the public on the issues of electoral reform and the interim recommendations made by the ERC.

Such feedback would be invaluable because many stakeholders, such as NGOs, political parties, and academics, would have rich opinions and expertise to offer that could strengthen the ERC’s recommendations.

Second, the public must be continually engaged on the reforms that the ERC intends to propose and that the government intends to implement.

Such engagement is necessary as part of the ongoing voter education and also to gain buy-in from the public at the early stage. Otherwise, the government may face stronger resistance when the final report is published.

Third, fundamental principles of good governance require the government to be transparent and open. Making the ERC’s interim report public is a basic step that ought to have been taken if the government is serious in electoral reform.

I hope that the government’s refusal to provide any details on the ERC report is not a sign of its lack of commitment towards electoral reform.

I have said before that electoral reform should be a bipartisan issue championed by all Malaysians.

Source: The Malaysian Insider

Civil society and political parties have fought many years, since the first BERSIH rally in 2007, for electoral reform to take place. For that, electoral reform must remain as one of the main agendas for the government.

Khoo Poay Tiong
MP for Kota Melaka
Press Statement on 17 July 2020

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *