Tuesday October 9, 2012
Nazri: EC answers to King
Reports by NIK MAZWIN NIK ANIS RAHIMY ABD RAHIM and YVONNE LIM
THE Election Commission is an independent institution that answers only to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong. As such, there is no need to make the EC answerable to Parliament, too, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Aziz said.
He said the Prime Minister’s Department “only oversees the day-to-day administration and management of the commission”.
Nazri said that under Article 114 of the Federal Constitution, EC members, consisting of a chairman, his deputy and five others, could only be appointed by the King after consulting the Conference of Rulers.
“The EC is under the authority of the King, and is responsible for preserving and protecting democracy in this country through free and fair elections,” he told Chow Kon Yeow (DAP-Tanjong).
“There is no need to transfer the EC’s accountability from the Prime Minister’s Department to Parlia-ment. This issue does not arise as they are responsible to the King.”
Chow had asked if the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) on electoral reforms’ recommendation that the EC be directly responsible to Parliament would be implemented.
Nazri said that under Article 113 of the Federal Constitution, the EC had the duty to review and revise the division of Federal and state constituencies and recommend alterations that should be conducted “in the interval of at least eight years”.
The EC is also required to continuously prepare and revise the electoral rolls as well as conduct Federal and state elections should a seat fall vacant.
Nazri also noted that the EC would implement most of the recommendations made by the PSC at the upcoming general election.
Of the 32 recommendations, only six could not be implemented.
“This is because of existing laws and the extra cost involved,” said Nazri.
The six recommendations are granting absentee voter status to overseas Malaysians, allowing voters to vote without having to return to their constituencies, that application to change voting address must be attached with a statutory declaration, verfication of Sabah electoral roll, abolition of the RM10 fees and the amendment of laws to allow objections to the electoral roll.
The Dewan Rakyat, Nazri said, passed 10 recommendations in December last year and 22 more in April.
“The EC has informed us that most recommendations have been or will be implemented soon,” said Nazri. “It also does not mean that the EC would not implement the remaining six recommendations in the future.”