‘Don’t put gun to my head’, EC chief asks Bersih

By Melissa Chi, The Malaysian Insider

PUTRAJAYA, Aug 19 — The Election Commission (EC) has agreed to meet with Bersih 2.0 to discuss electoral reforms, but its chairman Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof asked that the reforms movement not “put a gun to [his] head”.

 “I told them better don’t do that (put a gun to his head). You can suggest anything but some suggestions we might agree, some suggestions we might not. But don’t expect we must agree everything,” Abdul Aziz said today.

He was speaking to reporters here at the EC office after a two-hour discussion with the Association for the Promotion of Human Rights (Proham).

The first NGO to meet with the EC since the July 9 rally, Proham today submitted a report on “Human Rights and Electoral Reform” based on its findings from a public forum last month.

“You must come like Proham today, we must discuss openly without condition; they (Proham) didn’t put a gun to my head,” he said.

Bersih 2.0 is a loose coalition of 62 NGOs demanding for clean and fair elections.

The election watchdog group has been pushing for electoral reforms for years, resulting in two street rallies — the first in 2007, which has been partly credited for the Election 2008 tsunami, and the second on July 9 this year, which saw the Najib administration’s reformist image take a severe beating in the international media.

Abdul Aziz said based on his understanding, the request for the meeting was on three new issues which he declined to disclose.

“[The EC] is ready to meet with anyone to give suggestions and opinions to improve democracy and the election system.

“I hear and will discuss their (Proham) suggestions with the EC panel members whether those suggestions can be made into law or accepted as policy,” Abdul Aziz said.

He said among the issues discussed today were the independence of the EC, as well as ways to keep track of voting with biometric systems and indelible ink.