The Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (BERSIH 2.0) welcomes the decision of the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) not to represent the Election Commision (EC) in any of the election petition hearings.
The central roles of the AGC are to serve as the legal advisor of the government and to represent the government in the courts. It would be a clear conflict of interest should the AGC act as counsel for the EC in election petitions, which involves interests of the ruling parties. AGC cannot possibly represent both the contenders and the referee — in this case the EC, in any election dispute.
If the AGC provides legal representation for the EC, it would only reinforce the negative perception that the EC serves only the interest of the ruling government and is supported by AGC that is mandated to defend the government.
In order to restore public confidence in the EC as an independent and credible institution, it is crucial for the AGC to not to be part of the upcoming election petition hearings and for the EC to appoint private counsel for legal representation.
The EC, tasked with the duty to conduct free and fair elections and to act independently, unfortunately has clearly failed to live up to this important responsibility in the recent 14th General Elections.
It is time for the EC to own up to their failures, bias and misconduct in managing the 14th General Elections and defend for themselves in court. The time of relying on the AGC to escape scrutiny and accountability for their misconduct in the past is over.
BERSIH 2.0 Steering Committee