KUCHING: The suggestion that political party registrations be put under the Election Commission (EC) is timely but it is not a ‘low hanging fruit’ option because it requires all MPs to consider the finer details, opines Dr Ammar Redza Ahmad Rizal.
The Universiti Malaysia Sarawak academician was responding to Bangi MP Ong Kian Ming’s recommendation that civil society push Putrajaya to look into having EC be responsible for political party registrations.
However, the political scientist believes that it would be better for the decision to include other suggestions such as regulations on political funds, source transparency, and funds limitations, as stated by various people earlier.
“The government, backbenchers, and perhaps other MPs from the opposition have to sit down and decide on the details which might affect the Election Commission Act 1957 and Elections Act 1958.
“If amendments are made, the election will be far more transparent, as voters can identify which individuals, organisations, and corporations are funding which political parties.
“Besides, we will able to reduce the incidence of vote buying during the election as any expenses are subjected to an audit.”
Ammar said it was essential for EC to be given full autonomy to elect committees to oversee not only the election but also the registration of political parties and the auditing of political funds.
To that end, he emphasised that the nomination of the EC chairman be made by Parliament after the government had proposed candidates and the Yang di-Pertuan Agong had given his consent.
He added that to allow this, Parliament needed to amend Article 144 in the Constitution.
“Thus, if all MPs, both government and opposition, are able to do so, we will see a fruitful outcome from the decision to put political parties under EC instead of ROS.
“What we want is a complete renovation of the field to make it a level playing field for all political parties out there.”