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The Electoral Reform Committee (ERC) will propose for election dates to be set at least six months in advance. - NSTP/FARIZUL HAFIZ AWANG
The Electoral Reform Committee (ERC) will propose for election dates to be set at least six months in advance. - NSTP/FARIZUL HAFIZ AWANG

KUALA LUMPUR: The Electoral Reform Committee (ERC) will propose for election dates to be set at least six months in advance.

ERC chairman Tan Sri Abdul Rashid Abdul Rahman said this was one of the 15 components in its interim report for improvements in the electoral system.

The fixing of dates, he said, was to ensure all political parties, election management bodies and government agencies were well-prepared.

“This is so we don’t waste money. We have to train people for general elections.

“For every election, we train 40,000 of them, but what happens when elections are called off? We have to hold another training exercise.

“This costs a lot of money,” he said at a discussion titled “Improvements to Election Laws: The Future of Parliamentary Democracy in Malaysia” organised by the Academy of Leadership and Management and Bersih 2.0 on Thursday here.

He was one of the four panellists at the talk.

The others were Election Commission (EC) deputy chairman Dr Azmi Sharom, Dewan Rakyat Deputy Speaker Datuk Mohd Rashid Hasnon and Dewan Negara Reform Working Committee chairman Senator Mohd Yusmadi Mohd Yusoff.

Rashid said the committee, in its report, would propose for candidates to not put up their posters during elections.

He said many mature democracies no longer put up posters of candidates.

Tan Sri Abdul Rashid Abdul Rahman
Tan Sri Abdul Rashid Abdul Rahman

“If the government accepts this, we are going to do away with posters. Many countries have stopped using posters. They use only billboards here and there.”

The 20-member ERC was formed on Aug 28 last year. It was given two years to conduct studies on measures needed to improve the electoral system.

Rashid said he hoped to present the interim report to Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad by year-end.

He said the recommendations, if accepted, would ensure a stronger EC.

“The EC will be strong. It will not face trust issues (among Malaysians) in elections.”

Azmi said the EC had no plans to implement online voting.

He said while the matter was being researched, Malaysia’s small population would not need an online voting system.

“The system we have is cheaper, simple and transparent.

“There is already a trust deficit (towards the EC) and online voting means people will not know if there is vote tampering.”

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