Election Commission Malaysia Research Paper

Introduction

The Election Commission of Malaysia (EC) is a commission for the purpose of controlling the law and rules by organizing elections in Malaysia. The Election Commission falls under the operation of the Prime Minister’s Department. The Election Commission was formed in 4th September 1952, under Article 144 of the Constitution of Malaysia which empowered it to conduct elections for the Dewan Rakyat also the state legislative parties. After the Election Commission formation of Malaysia in 1963, another member of Sabah and Sarawak was added to represent the two states in the process.

Furthermore, The Election Commission consist of a chairman, a deputy chairman and five members, which appointed by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong after consulting the Conference of Rulers. The Election Commission has the power to set the limits and boundaries of the constituencies, considering the electoral roll of registered voters, and regulate the manner in of how the elections will be conducted. Although the Election Commission is in control, the Constitution will not be influence by the government in a way but the constitution has generally considered aiming by protecting the independence of the Commission.

It is protected by The Act and can only be removed through the same procedure by the judge of the Supreme Court. However, the commissioner cannot be altered to his disadvantage after he has been appointed. Besides that, the members of the Commission are appointed in which they have the trust and confidence of the public. The Constitution is not necessarily required consultation with the Prime Minister in this matter. Under the Article 40 of the Federal Constitution that the Yang di-Pertuan Agong cannot act on his own discretion unless it is fully and clearly expressed.

In other cases, the Yang di-Pertuan Agong must comply passively to the advice of the Prime Minister. The functions of the Election Commission duties are also reviewing the boundaries of the parliamentary and state constituencies by holding elections and carrying out registration. During the polling day, the Election Commission and the officers will be placed and stationed at the polling centers nationwide to control and also to not overlook the process of voting during that day.

The definition of General Election stands for an election involving all or most constituencies of a state or a nation in the choice of candidates. This year, the Malaysian General Election 2013 was held on the 5th May 2013 followed by the dissolution of the Parliament which has been announced by the Prime Minister on the 3rd April 2013. In order for the public to vote, they must be over 21 years old and is a Malaysian Citizen. Before the Election Day, voters need to be registered first to keep the data during the polling day.

The registration of voters for Malaysian is divided into two categories. Postal Voters and Absent Voters which require such as being in the Armed Forces that are in services, Government Personnel who are in service aboard, Individual who are studying full time abroad (which they are sponsored by the Government) and Spouses to the list that are stated. For Normal Voters, the Consulate General of Malaysia in Karachi provides service that helps people who need to be registered on behalf of the Election Commission of Malaysia (SPR). However, the registration is only done in a certain period of time.

Therefore, The Consulate General of Malaysia in Karachi will make the announcement for the registration and checking of the voting list when a request is for it therefore, The Consulate General of Malaysia will assist or help with the registration process. Each register has to provide their own important documents also identification documents that proves and provide the confirmation of the applicant’s citizenship. However, on the Election Day, normal voters need to return to Malaysia to cast their votes based on their registered areas.

For Postal Voters, they are required to cast their votes by post. The General Election committees are Barisan National (BN) and Pakatan Rakyat (PKR) whereas Pan- Islamic Malaysian Party (PAS) and Democratic Action Party (DAP) merged together with Pakatan Rakyat and several others independent parties. For the General Election 2013, Barisan National won total seats by 133 in the election whereas, Pakatan Rakyat won total seats by 30 seats for this year 2013 election. Besides that, the Pan-Islamic Malaysian Party won 21 seats and Democratic Action Party won by total of 38 seats this year.

Therefore, Barisan National still holds and rule as the government in Malaysia. This is because they holds majority the seats in the election. Barisan National is under the current Prime Minister Dato' Sri Haji Mohammad Najib bin Tun Haji Abdul Razak while Dato' Seri Anwar bin Ibrahim and he is the current leader of the opposition. The total votes for nationwide 2013, Barisan national achieve 47. 38% however, Pakatan Rakyat achieve 50. 87% and others achieved 1. 74%. Therefore, Pakatan Rakyat won the total votes in nationwide which are 50.

87%. Indelible Ink Election ink, electro stain or phosphoric ink is a semi-permanent ink or dye that applies on the forefinger of voters during an election as a good security to prevent double voting. Electoral stain which contains a pigment of instant recognition, and silver nitrate which stains the skin on exposure to ultraviolet light, leaving a mark on the forefinger that is impossible to wash off within a period of time. Election stain typically stays on skin for 3 to 4 days, lasting for 2 to 4 weeks on the fingernail and cuticle area.

Malaysia started to use indelible ink for the 13th general election on 5th May 2013 to prevent double voting. But in Malaysia, the election commission (EC) admitted that the indelible ink that used in 13th General Election on 5th May 2013 is food colouring, not chemical. The first problem appeared in the 13th General Election on 5th May 2013 in Malaysia is the indelible ink is washable, it was said that the indelible ink can last up to 7 to 10 days so that an individual who tries to vote more than once will be turned away. But it turned out to be removed quite easily after it applied.

The expiry date for the invisible ink is four months from its manufacturing date. In April, several advance voters told the media that they found the indelible ink can be removed easily after several hours. So over 50,000 military servicemen that voted early on 30th April could have voted again on the polling day. On 2 May 2013, a public demonstration was conducted by the Election Commission and on the media personnel to prove that the ink was indelible as stated. On 5th May 2013, there were 1000 of reports of voters being able to wipe the indelible ink off from their forefinger easily.

However this issue became widespread during the general election when others also reported the same things happened, but the election commission failed to give a satisfactory answer towards this matter. Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department in charge of parliamentary affairs, Datuk Shahidan Kassim claims that the failure of election commission officer to shake the bottle before being used that cause it to be washable. And it might also be the absence of the chemical that cause the reason of washable. Because Shahidan admitted the indelible ink actually contain of food clouring instead of chemical.

Other sources stated that the reason the ink did not last what they expected it to be because mainly due to the temperature where the ink was stored before the Election Day. On 26th June 2013 at Kuala Lumpur, The Sun Daily reported on news stated that the indelible ink is costly. Shahidan said that the Finance Ministry had approved Rm400 million for the Election commission to conduct the general election. Meanwhile, in a written reply to Anthony Loke Siew Fook who is a DAP members at Seremban, Shahidan said the overall cost of the use of 216,600 indelible ink in the 13th General Election was RM7.

1 million. He said RM6. 9 million was allocated for the design of the special ink bottle, the brushes, boxes for the bottles and the special mix of the ink. And the additional cost of RM200, 000 was for transportation, packaging and storage of the ink. This means each bottle of indelible ink cost about RM32. 77. Based on the website of Malaysia chronicle, Anthony Loke Siew Fook said for the 12th General Election in 2008, the Election commission spent RM2. 4 million for the indelible ink, although it was not used.

He then said in 2013, there was a 20% increase in voters from 2008, but the cost of the indelible ink increase for 30% from 2008. There were 10,922,139 voters in 2008 while in 2013 there were 13,268002. Other than that Loke also compared the amount of RM7. 1 million spent in Malaysia with RM2. 8 million spent in Cambodian for the indelible ink. This is because the number of voters in Malaysia in 2013 was 13 million while Cambodia has over 9 million voters. Another problem for indelible ink happens on the 13th General Election in Malaysia is the effect of the indelible ink on health problem.

The ingredients used for the indelible ink has proven that it may cause skin irritation to some of the voters. Ministry of health claims that even more than 1% of silver nitrate is added into the ink, it could damage the kidney and cause cancer. This statement must have caught Dr S Subramaniam by surprise, because as to date the Health Ministry has apparently not provided any safety report on the indelible ink, neither has the Election commission asked for the report. He as well also expressed his uncertainty if the silver nitrate in the ink could actually lead to kidney problems.

On 17th May 2013, the UMNO Information Chief, Ahmad Maslan had also claimed that the silver nitrate content of the indelible ink had to be reduced to the point where it would only last for 10 hours because it would increase the risk of cancer if it was any higher. Improvement Ways to improve the problem that happened towards the indelible ink issue is to replace indelible ink with MyKad readers and fingerprint scanner. First is because MyKad readers and fingerprint scanner can easily obtain from market. Then MyKad reader can also detect fake MyKad because it obtains data from the computer chip attached to the MyKad.

The most important part where this is the fastest way of checking identity of the voters to prevent long queue. For the usage of fingerprint scanner is scan the voter’s fingerprint to identify their identity. Another way to improve the problem is to use Digital “indelible” ink which means online or SMS voting system, every voter require for their own unique tracking ID regard on where they log in from and having the site to be expire once it has been inactive for a minute. And the tracker ID can be retrieved as long as the person has the right information to log in.

The system also will update automatically when voter change their information such as their current address which will affect the place they going to vote for. This system can help those disabled and elderly, giving them their right to vote despite for not being able to get to the voting centre. They can easily vote by registering their confidential information with mobile phone or computer, and then enter the exact same information when it comes to voting. Another way is use a unique QR code that is non-transferrable for smart phones usage.

For some rural areas where such technology is slightly hard to get due to infrastructural and geographic reason, then Election commission should expand the resources by providing some gadgets in every voting area and gather around the residents to vote on the voting centre. So they can enjoy the benefits like other. The benefits of this system are it could prevent human error by using technology, same goes to the process of votes counting due to the machine-automated. This system can also avoid spoilt vote because of the dirt on ballot paper.

Another way of improvement is, if insist to use indelible ink for general election is buy the left over indelible ink from other country such as India rather than purchase it direct from supplier. This method will help to save more expenses of buying indelible ink because it is buying from other country with a cheaper price which is also known as second-hand. Other than that, it is also environmental friendly for not wasting the left over indelible ink. This situation could be claim as win-win situation for both countries. Since indelible ink is use once in 5

years for general election then is better to purchase the indelible ink that contain more silver nitrate than food colouring which will last longer on the forefinger of voters. This may bring up the issues of the effect of health problem that cause by silver nitrate in the indelible ink, but it is much more better than the issue of washable after applied and it is costly but does not reach the expectation. Campaign Overspend According to the Election Offences Act 1954 for campaigning, it stated that a parliamentary candidate can spend RM200,000 maximum on campaigning and RM100,000 for those contesting for a state seat.

Unfortunately, that the government overspend the budget on the entertainment that can bribe our interest and mind. For example like those “1M Charity Concert that organized in Penang on the 20th of April. ” The performers included US stars Redfoo of LMFAO, Busta Rhymes, Ludacris and Swizz Beatz, Hong Kong’s Alan Tam, George Lam and Hacken Lee, Angela Chang from Taiwan. The total cost of organizing the concert is about RM400,000. The first issue that government overspending in the campaign is that they provide free food, free drinks and lucky draw for the citizens to “buy” their support towards their parties.

People have been enjoying free food and drink, and entertainment, and lucky ones get lucky draw prizes, including motorcycles, washing machines and refrigerators at the parties almost every single night in different areas. According to the website – Aliran. com in 19 April 2013 reported that in Penang, perhaps elsewhere as well, many so-called ‘charity buffet and lucky draws’ have been organized by a pro-BN organization, unheard of until now, called ’1Malaysia Penang Welfare’ Club.

The mode of operation for these dinners usually involves first, identifying and renting a public space to use – the parking lot of a market like in Tanjong Bungah, Pulau Tikus, Perak Road or Mt Erskine; or the grounds of a Chinese association or temple; or even the Penang Chinese Assembly Hall on a particular evening. Secondly, booking and arranging for all the hawkers and food stalls in that area to provide the ‘charity buffet’ and they will employ a ‘song-and-dance’ troupe to provide live entertainment. Thirdly, the highlight after all the free foods and entertainment, they will conduct a lucky draw at the end.

Prizes included motorcycles, bicycles, electric fans and other appliances. The second issue is they overspent on advertise their campaigns on several media like internet, billboards, newspapers even in cinemas. Advertisements have been used intensively in this election as a campaign “tool”. The advertisement spent before general elections, where the government spent more on advertisement on free-to-air TV and radio than on print, to better ‘connect’ with the voters. Advertisements, especially the ones with catchy messages and slogans, can influence voters and win their heart and mind. Based on the website , Malaysianinsider.

com on the 10th of April – Kuala Lumpur , reported that Barisan Nasional (BN) and the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) spent at least RM73 million last month on advertising, as the ruling coalition launches an advertising blitz to keep Putrajaya in what is set to be the most expensive general election ever. The PMO spent RM67. 8 million on advertising last month according to data from consumer analysts Nielsen Media Research, earning itself the top place among advertisement spenders, well ahead of the RM43 million spent by classifieds, and the RM25 million each spent by Nestle and Unilever Malaysia.

BN has gone on the offensive in the online advertising space early for this election, spearheaded by the BetterNation theme. The @barisanasional Twitter account started tweeting from May 2012, and has been featured as one of Twitter’s “Promoted Account”. A “Promoted Account” will be advertised prominently by Twitter, its frequency depending on the amount paid, and reportedly costs at least US$15,000 (RM45,900) for a three-month campaign. A “Promoted Trend” ? for example, to promote the hashtag #BetterNation ? reportedly costs up US$200,000 (RM612,000) per day. Improvement

The first improvement for the issue is that we can request the receipt or the account statement from each of the party that how much they had spend on their campaign and the budget that had limited for them. This system can help to control the budget that had been set by the Election Commission. Moreover, this can helps to prevent the suppliers and the consumers not to cheated or corrupt on the financial statement.

The second improvement is that before the general election was held, instead of organizing open house for public which gives free food, alcohol, concert and lucky draw which consumed a significant amount of money, the involved parties could have make good use of the money to win over public's heart. For instance, they could have use the money to create more subsidies in necessities such as petrol, flour and so on to ease down public's burden in long term. They could've also used the money to help those less fortunate people and orphanages.

Besides, the amount of money may use in further development of our country. Voters in the General Election 13 Election is a democratic practice and it also symbolize the fair distribution of power which guaranteed by the Federal Constitution of Malaysia. This gives citizens the right to vote and choose their country‘s ruling party including the members of parliament who have the ability to amend the Constriction with the majority votes. According to the Article119 of the Federal Constitution, people who would like to register as a qualified voter must meet the following criteria:

1) The person must be a Malaysian citizen.

2) The person must be 21 years old and above and

3) Never been barred or disqualified by any law in forced

In the past General Election 2013, we have observed that many foreigners being imported into Malaysia. According to the blog of Anwar Ibrahim, the investigative journalist website SarawakReport and Anwar Ibrahim himself disclosed emails linking the Prime Minister’s Office to charter flights arranged to bring thousands of people from Borneo to Peninsular Malaysia. Besides, he also claimed that the number of the foreigners is more than 40,000.

On the Election Day, many witnesses encountered the bus that carried the voters and brought them to the polling stations. The voters on these busses did not look like Malaysians and many of them could not perform simple tasks such as sing the National Song of Malaysia or tell the address on their nation identity card. Furthermore, phantom voter is also one of the concerned issues that happened during the election period. According to the case reported on 4 May 2013 about the suspected phantom voters by Rafizi Ramli who is a PKR’s candidate for Pandan.

The voters of Pandan, Seok Leong Yew and Sivaprakasam a/l SN Karuppiah complained of unknown individuals being registered as voters at their respective homes in Taman Dagang. They claimed that, there are multiple people registered under the same address. Besides, both of them also received the voter slips in their mail box. Another case related to phantom voter which was happened in Permatang Puah in the year of 2008. N. Gopalakrishnan, a member of parliament was detained while he was giving a press conference on the “phantom voter”.

Several Pakatan Rakyat Members had stopped five buses, which they believe to be carried about 200 phantom voters from Kulim to Butterworth. Improvement Regarding the case of foreigner voters and phantom voters, there are some improvements can be made. Firstly, there must be a law to stop foreign workers to enjoy ‘day off’ on the Election Day. The Ministry of Human Resources should put up a notice to all the employers to create and raise their awareness and alert on the issue of foreign voters.

The employers of foreign workers should be more alert to not letting their foreign employees to take off day during the Election Day. This is to prevent them for being used by others as the voter to vote in the General Election. Besides, there should be a permission granted to selected people to question the suspicious voters. They can set up a room for interview with the presence of the observers. The lie detection machine should be used if needed. Other than that, the Election Commission should take action before the Election Day to confirm all the voters are valid and there is no double and fraud registration.

They can send the detail of voters according to the home address to the voters’ home. They also need to encourage voters to report on any case or issue of wrong registration or phantom registration like what happened to the case in Pandan. In addition, the Ministry of Immigration should tighten the law and be stricter in approving the visa or permit for foreigners. This is to control the number of foreigners to enter our country. There will be less issue on foreigner voters if fewer foreigners allow entering to our country. Finger print identification system should be implemented.

This is because each of every human has their very own finger print pattern. Election commission should ask all the voters to scan their finger print and key in the data in the system for verification. This procedure should be done early before the election and close the registration of finger print 2 weeks or longer before the Election Day. Besides, they should also announce to public the total number of finger print registration. This is to prevent the last minute ‘imported’ voters from other countries to do finger print registration and go for voting in the Election Day.

Conclusion In conclusion, the government should gain the public trust by being honest as well as being fair by gaining the public’s trust. Besides that, the government should not take advantage on the public’s interest based on entertainment. However, transparency is the most important towards the public. Although there will only be one winner, the government should place and handle the General Election fair and square. By being transparency, it will help the government on gaining the public’s trust and also interest.

The government should respect our rights, because it is our fundamental rights which has been stated in the Part II of the Federal Constitution where we citizen of Malaysia have the rights and freedom to choose and select our government. Therefore, to be a real democratic country, the government should for once act as a leader to safeguard the spirit of democracy of our country. We are looking forward for the improvements done by our government in the next General Election.

References

  • Bernama. (2013, June 26). Shahidan: Tests show that ink used in ge was indelible.
  • The Sun Daily. Retrieved from http://www.thesundaily. my/news/753841
  • The sun daily. (2013, June 28). Rm7mil for 'food-dye'? ec told to explain cost of 'indelible' ink full article from http://www. malaysia-chronicle. com/index. php? option=com_k2&view=item&id=120622:rm7mil-for-food-dye? -ec-told-to-explain-cost-of-indelible-ink&Itemid=2#axzz2YX4VG6V8
  • Anil, N. (2013, June 27). Malaysians let down by ‘indelible’ ink scandal. Retrieved from http://anilnetto. com/malaysian-politics/malaysian-elections/the-indelible-ink-scandal/
  • Wikipedia. (2013). Harvard referencing. Retrieved July 15, 2013, from http://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/Election_Commission_of_Malaysia.