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Government has nothing to hide, says Najib
THE government and the Election Commission will look into all 22 recommendations submitted by the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) on electoral reforms before arriving at any decision.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said the government had nothing to hide as it was also all for fair and clean elections.
“We don’t want to be elected on the basis of any irregularities or fraud in the election process.”
He said that he was sure recommendations consonant with the objectives of the whole exercise would be considered positively.
“At the end of the day, we want the process (election) to be seen in a positive light.”
He said the government needed to take into account what the EC could do within the purview of the government and if it would need time to go through the proposals.
He said the opposition should not use this as an excuse to hype up election-related issues any more.
The prime minister was speaking to Malaysian reporters after a retreat session held for Asean leaders here yesterday.
Among the 22 recommendations made by the PSC are the need for the EC to work towards automatically registering citizens who turn 21 as voters and allowing Malaysians aged 20 to pre-register as voters.
It also asked that Parliament be dissolved only after its fourth year in session and the establishment of a caretaker government to run the country until the formation of a new government.
Other recommendations in the report called for a longer campaign period of at least 10 days before the general election; allowing Malaysians residing overseas to vote earlier at Malaysian embassies/missions or through postal voting; establishing an independent body like Mimos Bhd to help clean up the electoral roll; and another PSC to monitor the electoral roll.
Yesterday, he was also asked on the possibility that some of the recommendations would not be adopted.
He said: “The cabinet would have to deliberate on the matter. We will ask the PSC chairman (Datuk Seri Maximus Ongkili) to table to the cabinet.”
Najib, who is also Barisan Nasional chairman, said the government formed the PSC to show its sincerity and to enable BN and opposition members of parliament to discuss election issues.
“I was told that many things were discussed and they (PSC opposition members) also accepted the recommendations made, but when the recommendations were tabled, they created an uproar.”
He said the government would decide the way forward for the election process.
On Tuesday, the recommendations were tabled at Dewan Rakyat and passed without debate.
The decision was made by Speaker Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia after several government and opposition MPs were engaged in a war of words relating to his decision to reject a motion to get a minority report inserted in the final report.
Despite the commotion and the fact that the motion received a loud shout of “agree“ from backbenchers, the speaker still offered the opposition MPs a chance to decide on the motion through block voting.
However, the opposition MPs refused to do so, forcing the speaker to pass the motion according to the voice of the majority without debate.
Ongkili had said the report was prepared based on public opinion during public hearings, feedback from PSC members, conclusions provided by sub-committees and PSC members’ observation during their working visits to the United Kingdom, Germany and Denmark.
He had also said the committee, comprising nine members, backbenchers and opposition MPs, had accepted 18 of the recommendations, while the other four were accepted through block voting.