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  1. #11
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Projek BERES: Settling electoral issues once and for all

    Astro Awani | Updated: February 16, 2014

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    ’ projekberes

    KUALA LUMPUR: First there were the Bersih rallies, then there were voter education groups like Tindak Malaysia that demanded an improvement to the electoral system in the country.

    Today a group ofMalaysians are continuing this groundswell with a new electoral reform initiative, called Projek Beres (which means settle, or complete, in Malay).

    BERES is the acronym for “Blueprint for Eifective Reform ofthe Electoral System”, and the project claims that it was not interested in the “political blame game". Instead, it claims to be able to present to the ruling government, the opposition and nation a “comprehensive, ready-to~use blueprint for electoral reform that is meaningful”.

    The citizen-initiated project consists ofover 40 volunteering lawyers, political scientists, auditors, librarians, artists, physicists in and outside Malaysia.

    “Our focus is not on uncovering fraud and changing past results — we will leave this to other civil movements to fight out with the authorities — but in how to strengthen our electoral process. Our approach is simple. Identify problems, offer solutions. ln all, we now have 80 recommendations,” said Projek BERES in an article about the

    Among its first recommendations is to “hit the reset button and completely remap electoral constituencies”. This, it said, was to ensure each vote is as equal as possible under current socio-political circumstances.

    “We want to increase Parliamentary seats to 230 and distribute to States using two methodologies: Firstly, federal seats for each state must reasonably reflect voter population. Secondly, Sabah and Sarawak seats must increase in accordance with the ratio ofseats in the 1963 Malaysia Agreement.”

    Another major proposal from Projek BERES is to have an Election Ombudsman to police the Election Commission (EC) to ensure it complies with its Constitutional mandate.

    The Election Ombudsman will monitor the EC and will address complaints on the conduct ofthe Commission and instruct it to comply, as well as review regulations and procedures in how an election is carried out.

    In a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page, Projek BERES explained that unlike Bersih or Tindak Malaysia, its focus was on legislation.

    The movement would reviewing electoral and other laws, including Constitution as well as best practices worldwide, the group will present their recommendations to the authorities.

    Story first published on: February 16, 2014 ll:48 (MYT)

    Tags: BERES, Projek BERES, electoral reform, Bersih

  2. #12
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    5:20PM Feb 16, 2014
    Overhaul constitution for fairer polls, urges group

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    A group, known as the Blueprint for Effective Reform of the Electoral System Project (Projek Beres) has proposed 20 wide-ranging constitutional amendments to overhaul Malaysia’s electoral system.

    Among them is a system for holding referendums, an ombudsman to handle election-related complaints, and a system for appointing a caretaker government.

    The group’s spokesperson Syahredzan Johan said problems in the electoral system are already widely-known, and it was time to look for solutions. Projek Beres’ proposals is but one alternative.

    “Why not reflect our aspirations as a maturing society? We want something better. In order for something better to happen, we think that it must involve a review of the federal constitution and amendments to the federal constitution.

    “We are willing to engage with anyone who is willing to work with us, from both sides of the political divide and the Election Commission,” he told a seminar in Petaling Jaya today.

    Syahredzan, a constitutional lawyer, described Projek Beres as a reform movement by a group of Malaysians, many of whom are abroad and are not lawyers.

    He added that the group is also willing to discuss its proposals and make changes.

    However, the full text of the document is still being ‘fine-tuned’ and only its executive summary is available.

    The proposed amendments include:

    • Each state will be allocated a number of parliamentary seats that is proportional to its population, except for Sabah and Sarawak, which together should have a-third of parliamentary seats in the spirit of the Malaysia Agreement. There are a total of 230 seats.
    • Positions in the senate to be appointed by the Agong, are to be increased from 40 to 42, while senators representing the Federal Territories are reduced from four to two.
    • Reintroduce local government elections.
    • New criteria on how redelineation exercises are conducted, including minimising discrepancies in apportionment, and avoid dividing communities with constituency boundaries.
    • A new Boundary Commission to carry out the redelineation exercise, with the power to change the number of constituencies. Unlike the status quo, Parliament will have no power to amend or reject its decisions.
    • The Election Commission (EC) will no longer be involved in redelineation, but its new role is to register and regulate political parties. The latter role is currently undertaken by the Registrar of Societies, which is under the Ministry of Home Affairs.
    • Introduce an Election Ombudsman Office to investigate and address complaints regarding the EC and Boundaries Commission. It can order corrective action to be made, or the removal of a member of a caretaker government.
    • Introduce a system for a caretaker that is similar to that of Pakistan, where an interim prime minister is appointed by the Agong with concurrence of both the outgoing prime minister and opposition leader. The caretaker government will be bound to a code of conduct and its members should not be involved in the election.
    • Introduce a system for holding referendums, which can be initiated by groups of at least 10 percent of registered voters, when making certain constitutional amendments, and when putting preventive security laws into effect for a period of over a year.
    • EC, Boundaries Commission, and Ombudsman Office members are to be appointed by the Agong, in consultation with the Conference of Rulers, with concurrence of the opposition leader. Prior to that, the suitability of prospective members will also be deliberated upon in a public hearing before a Federal Court judge. Holding office in a political party will be a criteria for disqualification.


  3. #13
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    1:52PM Feb 16, 2014
    'MCA's downfall is its own doing'

    13 9

    A former academician argued today that MCA’s downfall was its own doing, because the party had agreed to constitutional amendments in 1962 and 1973 that gave more weightage to rural voters.

    Political scientist Lim Hong Hai said Tan Siew Sin, who was the (MCA) leader in those years, actually strongly defended those amendments in Parliament.

    “I would say that this was the height of folly - the most foolish mistake - for any political party to agree to the debasement and devaluation of its own political base. If its own base is reduced in importance, so must the party,”

    He opined that the amendments had halved the political influence of urban Chinese voters, in addition to a declining population compared to other ethnic groups in Malaysia.

    The resulting devaluation, among others, led to MCA and Gerakan finding itself with little bargaining power with Umno, and its very existence considered irrelevant by voters.

    He said MCA should have realised that its survival depends on underscoring the importance of its political base through fairer redelineation and fair elections.

    Lim, who formerly lectured at Universiti Sains Malaysia, said this at the 'Towards a Fairer Electoral System' forum/seminar organised by Tindak Malaysia and Bar Council.

    Disrepancy limited to 15pct originally

    He gave a presentation on the history of Malaysia’s electoral system.

    As of Merdeka Day, Malaya’s constitution limits the discrepancy between the size of constituencies to 15 percent.

    The limit was increased to 50 percent in the 1962 amendment, and was abolished altogether in 1973.

    This was done because the Alliance - later BN - had suffered electoral setbacks at the time and wanted to shore up on its support in the rural Malay constituencies, he said.

    The Election Commission (EC) also had absolute power to redeliniate constituencies, but this was subsequently removed in 1962.

    Instead, the EC can only recommend new constituency boundaries to the prime minister, who then submits it to the Parliament for approval. If not approved, the prime minister may then make amendments to the boundaries and then resubmit it to Parliament

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