In a damning indictment, Malaysia’s electoral reforms chief accused the Election Commission of taking sides in the May 9 general election and being blatant about it, calling it the worst-held elections in the country.
Abdul Rashid Abdul Rahman, a career election official, who served the EC in various capacities, said the 14th general election was the worst he had seen in 27 years of service in terms of the decisions made by the commission.
“It appeared that the EC was taking instructions from the government,” Rashid told The Malaysian Insight.
“Overall there was a lot of non-compliance happening on the ground, but I think the instruction that was given was for the workers to deliver the elections to the party in power.
“This was the worst and I feel ashamed. Already the law is biased to the party in power, yet they were adding insult to injury and not giving any chance to the opposition at all. That’s not the way to conduct a democratic election.”
Moving forward, he said, there must be rules for commissioners and their appointments must be vetted to ensure they are not biased.
“They have to be committed to free-and-fair elections in all matters. If they fail, then there should be a tribunal or disciplinary action,” said the 76-year-old, who is also a Bersatu central committee member.
Electoral reform is one of the major reforms being undertaken by Pakatan Harapan following last year’s unprecedented victory over Barisan Nasional.
Critics said the elections on May 9 were marred by several controversies ranging from the cutting out of PH chairman Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s image from billboards to delays in announcing the election results.
Other events that were criticised included an incident at the Rantau constituency where returning officer Amino Agos barred PKR candidate Dr Streram Sinnasamy from entering the nomination centre to file his papers, allowing BN’s Mohamad Hasan to win uncontested.
After GE14, then-EC chairman Mohd Hashim Abdullah had his tenure cut short by two months. His resignation was followed by the resignations of six other commissioners.
But while Rashid was unhappy with the way the elections were conducted last May, he also saw no point holding a tribunal.
Putrajaya formed a tribunal to investigate allegations of misconduct by EC commissioners during the last election.
“What do they want to do? Punish them?
“The tribunal should be disbanded as there are no legal avenues to punish them if they are found guilty. How do you punish them? Ask them to return their allowances?