EC is a ‘staff’ in PM’s Dept

The Election Commission (EC), it appears, is bogged down by the lack of money, manpower and ‘real’ clout.

(Free Malaysia Today) – In a democracy, it is widely understood that when a “commission” is set up, it comes directly under the purview of Parliament.

But in Malaysia’s case, the story is different. Take the Election Commission (EC). Why does the EC need the government to approve recommendations proposed by the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) on electoral reforms before implementing them?

Because the EC is technically a staff “employed” by the Prime Minister’s Department.

Explaining the “relationship”, EC secretary Kamaruddin Mohamed Baria said: ” The EC does not fall under the purview of Parliament.

“It falls administratively under the Prime Minister’s Department… but it is independent in terms of decision-making.”

Recently, EC deputy chairman Wan Ahmad Wan Omar reportedly said the federal government must approved the PSC’s recommendations before they can be implemented.

He said that “even a small change in regulation” would need to be approved by the government, although he agreed with observers that some recommendations such as the use of indelible ink did not require amendments to the law.

Wan Ahmad’s comments followed PSC chairman, Maximus Ongkili’s statement that the PSC committee would table its full report which could include more proposals for electoral reforms in March or early April next year.

Strapped for money, and lacking in manpower and clout, the EC, it appears, is now scrambling to deal with its “newfound” challenges.

Speaking to FMT, Kamaruddin said that one of the EC’s shortcomings in implementing the PSC recommendations was an acute lack of personnel.