There is no need to set up a tribunal or a Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) to investigate allegations of misconduct committed by the Election Commission (EC) in the run-up to the 14th General Election, says Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Liew Vui Keong.
“Following the latest development with regard to the resignations of members of the Election Commission, the issue over the setting up of a tribunal does not arise any longer.
“As for the RCI, there is no need for it to be set at this point in time as the election issues raised have been dealt with by the courts and will be addressed by the new EC chairman,” he said when answering a question raised by Khoo Poay Tong (PH-Kota Melaka) in Parliament on Tuesday (Oct 23).
Liew, who is also de facto law minister, noted that issues on electoral misconduct, including redelineation, exercise were raised through election petitions with the courts, where some were rejected.
Last week, the EC announced that the five commissioners – Othman Mahmood, Md Yusop Mansur, Abdul Aziz Khalidin, Sulaiman Narawi and Leo Chong Cheong – would vacate their positions on Jan 1 next year. Another commissioner, K Bala Singam, will remain in office.
Liew said the appointment of Azhar Azizan Harun as the new EC chairman and new commissioners would see the beginning of a new era of reforms for the EC.
“I believe he will improve the EC process and reform the EC, as well as resolve the issues concerning the commission.”
To a question by Tan Sri Annuar Musa (BN-Ketereh) on whether the EC’s performance would be affected by Azhar’s appointment as the latter was an activist with no administrative experience, Liew said it would not.
“Although he (Azhar) is an activist, I am certain he will discharge his responsibilities in a professional manner,” he added.
Human rights lawyer Azhar, 56, or popularly known as Art Harun, is a well-known activist writer.
He was appointed to head the EC on Sept 15, replacing Tan Sri Mohd Hashim Abdullah whose tenure had been shortened.
Hashim’s tenure was initially supposed to end in August, 2020.