General election can go ahead without full reforms, says PM


By Mazwin Nik Anis and Martin Carvarlho, The Star

Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak says the general election can be held without full electoral reforms having to be implemented.

The Prime Minister said this was because some reforms could be executed immediately while others needed time to be introduced.

“The parliamentary select committee has nothing to do with the (general) election. We will try to do some (reforms) immediately.

“What can be done immediately, we will do it,” he told a press conference after chairing the Umno supreme council meeting here yesterday.

The Umno president and Barisan Nasional chairman said the party supreme council fully supported the setting up of the parliamentary committee and the Government’s efforts at electoral reform.

“Umno has always upheld the importance of parliamentary democracy. The credibility of our elections cannot be questioned and we have proved that there is no manipulation in votes and the electoral roll,” he stressed.

On the Opposition’s insistence to lead the parliamentary committee, Najib said the party with the majority should lead but assured the participation of Opposition members.

“That is the tradition of Westminster parliamentary democracy which they (Opposition) don’t understand.

“The number of representation in the committee is also based on the strength of the party,” he explained, referring to Pakatan Rakyat’s demand that it be represented by the same number of MPs as the Barisan.

On Pakatan’s statement that it had yet to decide whether to participate in the committee, Najib said it was a sincere effort on the part of the Government.

“We want to reach a consensus on the type of (electoral) reforms that we should do,” he said.

Asked whether the committee would convene even without the Opposition on board, Najib said the matter would be decided at the appropriate time.

“But we want to show the people that there is nothing for us to be worried about or hide as far as the transparency of our electoral process is concerned,” he said.