'Some electoral changes may not be applied for GE13'

The extent of changes within Malaysia’s electoral system proposed by the parliamentary select committee (PSC) on electoral reforms will largely depend on when the 13th general election will be held.

Its chairperson, Dr Maximus Ongkili, said while there had been and will be some changes, some may not be applied in the forthcoming polls.

“If we have another year to go (for the next general election), then it will be possible,” he told the Malaysian press before attending a dinner hosted by High Commissioner Zakaria Sulong for the PSC delegation which is in London to study the electoral roll processes in Europe.

PKR deputy president and Gombak MP Azmin Ali, who is part of the delegation, said given the uncertain date of the 13th general election, it would be best if all reform measures are fully adopted first before the polls date is announced by Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak.

Also present was Hulu Selangor MP P Kamalanathan, who said while these changes were important, the more pertinent matter was to continuously enhance public trust in the country’s electoral system.

“These changes we have and will be proposing are important but we have to remember that the PSC focuses on the bigger picture, which is electoral reforms - not just the coming elections, but for the future elections to come,” he added.

There have been developments coming from the series of suggestions made by the committee, which has been taken up by the Election Commission for implementation.

On Feb 15, regulations on the use of indelible ink in the general election were gazetted, along with the approval for any nominated person of a disabled registered voter to accompany and mark the ballot sheets on his or her behalf.

In the United Kingdom, Maximus said that the committee had emerged with greater clarity on how constituency delineation can be improved after their meeting with British MPs and officers of the Boundary Commission for England.

Overseas voting - Only Denmark doesn’t impose conditions

Commenting on overseas voting, Maximus said it was something that the committee had to consider carefully as out of the three countries in this study trip, only Denmark does not impose conditions.

Currently only government employees, army personnel and full-time students can vote overseas.

The delegation will fly to Frankfurt next, to be followed by Berlin and Copenhagen before returning home.

The final report on the recommendations for electoral reforms is expected to be tabled in Parliament and gazetted by the first week of April.

The PSC was formed on Oct 2 last year and given six months to come up with the proposals.

Besides Maximus, Azmin and Kamalanathan, the other MPs in the committee are Mohd Radzi Sheikh Ahmad, Dr Fong Chan Onn, Alexander Nanta Linggi, Dr Mohd Hatta Ramli, Anthony Loke and Wee Choo Keong.

- Bernama