Bersih 2.0: Structure and Mandate of The PSC on Election Need To Be Clarified
The Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (Bersih 2.0) welcomes the announcement made by the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Law), Datuk Liew Vui Keong, that the Parliamentary Special Select Committee (PSC) for Election is formed after the motion passed in the Dewan Rakyat yesterday along with the other three PSCs, namely PSC on Human Rights and Constitutional Affairs, International Relations and Trade; and Science, Innovation and Environment.
We would like to laud the effort of the Speaker of the Dewan Rakyat YB Tan Sri Dato’ Mohammad Ariff bin Md. Yusof in spearheading this important parliamentary reform initiative.
In a statement dated 9 September 2018, Bersih 2.0 had proposed for the government to establish a PSC on Election besides the Electoral Reform Committee (ERC). The two bodies have different functions in which the PSC will have a greater mandate on election law making as it is directly responsible to Parliament and will help to facilitate the process of implementing electoral reform proposals from the ERC. More importantly, the PSC on Election will play the crucial role of checks and balances to the Election Commission (EC).
In this regard, Bersih 2.0 would like to suggest some guidelines to the government for the establishment of this PSC on Election:
- The PSC on Election must be a permanent standing parliamentary select in order to play the role of check and balance to the EC throughout the year.
- The Committee should be made up of Members of Parliament from both the ruling and the opposition parties based on the number of party seats in the Dewan Rakyat. The PSC on Election may follow the Australian model, whereby, the chairman is from the ruling party and the deputy is from the opposition party.
- The criteria for committee members to be selected to sit in this PSC should be those who have the knowledge, experience and expertise in election matters and have shown commitment for clean, free and fair elections.
Committee’s Mandate and Power
- The mandate of this committee should include the following:
a. To receive, review and debate annual report from the EC including reports for general elections and by-elections.
b. To scrutinise EC’s financial and expenditure reports including those for general elections and by-elections.
c. To conduct an inquiry on any matters related to elections and when necessary, has the power to subpoena witnesses to give testimony and provide evidence in relation to the issues. These investigations should also be made public and be televised or broadcast on parliamentary websites.
d. To review any law and amendment to the election law before it is tabled and debated in parliament by engaging with all stakeholders, especially political parties and civil society organizations.
e. To provide recommendations for electoral reform, practice and law.
f. To engage with local or foreign experts for a third opinion on issues related to electoral system, implementation and electoral law.
Bersih 2.0 once again congratulates the parliament for establishing an important PSC that is fundamental to pave the way for a healthy democracy in our country, which should be established in a serious and honest manner with integrity.
It is hoped that with the establishment of the PSC on Election, our parliamentary and electoral institutions can be strengthened and enhanced to be on par with other developed countries such as the United Kingdom and Australia with free and fair elections.
Bersih 2.0 Steering Committee
Credit Image : Portal Rasmi Parlimen Malaysia