Sunday, June 2, 2013

Bipartisan panel to oversee EC

This will improve electoral system and boost confidence in the agency, says Najib

KUALA LUMPUR: AN independent bipartisan parliamentary committee will be set up to oversee the Election Commission as part of the government's move to improve the electoral system and strengthen public confidence in the commission.

The move is also aimed at strengthening the EC's authority and credibility.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said the parliamentary committee would comprise Barisan Nasional and opposition members and would function independently.

He said although the 13th General Election had concluded smoothly, there were parties who still disputed the results of the election. "As prime minister, I have a duty to govern on behalf of all Malaysians, whether they voted for the ruling coalition or not.

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"It is so easy to take the path of blame and denial, but this will not solve any of our problems or unlock the challenges facing Malaysia.

"I understand that sections of the public want to see our election processes strengthened. I am announcing these improvements to the electoral system in the spirit of unity and national reconciliation," he said in his congratulatory speech to Yang di-Pertuan Agong Tuanku Abdul Halim Mu'adzam Shah on his birthday and investiture at Istana Negara yesterday.

Najib said with the move, it was hoped that the EC's impartiality would not be questioned.

He said the government would extend its full cooperation to the EC to improve the credibility of general elections.

"The truth is, the EC is not an agency or a government department. Instead, it is a mechanism established based on the supremacy of the law of the country, which is the Federal Constitution, and its members are given protection as given to Federal Court judges."

Najib also announced a new, comprehensive integrity plan on good governance to address issues of corruption and improve government services.

"I will announce the details of the implementation of this plan soon."

He said the government would not be thrifty in efforts to improve the quality of governance and integrity and would intensify efforts in fighting corruption.

"The people have spoken and voiced the priority that should be championed by Your Majesty's government."

Najib said the BN government was aware of cracks in national unity and that some people felt marginalised.

He said the government was committed towards addressing these challenges, adding that the situation occurred because of a national polemic based on beliefs, race, political ideologies, urban and rural demography and class.

He said he and his colleagues in the government recognised that they carried the trust and responsibility of all Malaysians regardless of their political affiliations.

The government, said Najib, would formulate a plan to strengthen national unity and improve national understanding and this required the cooperation of all parties. It should be based on constructive dialogue at all levels.

Najib said the government was committed towards creating a better future for Malaysians.

"We dream of a Malaysia where people of all races and beliefs can live in peace and harmony without any suspicion, a progressive and prosperous Malaysia which has enough for all.

"All these plans will not be successful without the support of all Malaysians. It should not be the government's agenda alone and we should make it the mission of all parties. Let us chart a new and better future together, for us and our children."

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