Kuala Lumpur, 22 December 2020 –The Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (IDEAS) would like to welcome the government’s decision to set up a special committee to study the 49 recommendations by the Electoral Reform Committee (ERC), whilst also urging the government to accept all recommendations.
“This special committee is an indication that the government is taking the recommendations seriously. I hope that the composition of the committee will include opposition MPs as well, to ensure checks and balances in any decision making”, comments Aira Azhari, Manager of the Democracy and Governance Unit.
Among the recommendations by the ERC are laws on political funding, improving the postal voting system, appointing local and international observers during elections as well as changing the First Past the Post (FPTP) electoral model.
“I am encouraged by these positive developments and look forward to the government presenting a clear implementation plan for the ERC’s 49 recommendations. Importantly, I hope that the government and opposition will both support the passing of the Political Funding Act to ensure that political parties and election campaigns are funded with transparency and accountability. I understand there is already a draft in place and look forward to seeing it tabled in Parliament in the next sitting, especially since the general election is speculated to take place within the first half of 2021,” commented IDEAS CEO Tricia Yeoh.
“These proposals by the ERC are very encouraging as they strike at the heart of our democratic processes and institutions. Another recommendation is to establish a central civic democracy and election institute to educate Malaysians on civic matters. Beyond strengthening institutions, public education is essential to ensure Malaysians make informed choices and understand the importance of participating in the democratic process. Furthermore, I hope that the special committee will make its deliberations and reports public and involve civil society in their discussions”, concluded Aira.