EC: Not proper for Suhakam to be monitors

Mohd Hashim Abdullah said it would not be appropriate for one commission to monitor the other. (Youtube screengrab)

PUTRAJAYA: The Election Commission said today that human rights could not over-ride statutory rights granted to voters.

In a statement today, EC chairman Mohd Hashim Abdullah said: “The right to vote is a right granted under statute, all the rules have to be adhered to by the voters. There should be no issue of human rights overruling statutory rights.”

His statement was made to explain the EC decision not to appoint the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) as election observers and monitors for the general election on May 9.

Hashim said it would not be appropriate to do so. Members of the two commissions were appointed by the Yang Di-Pertuan Agong and had specific jurisdictions as stated in the Federal Constitution and the respective primary legislation.

“Suhakam has been given recognition and has jurisdiction over human rights, the same recognition should also be given to the EC, he said.

Suhakam had said yesterday that it had failed to obtain accreditation from the EC as election observers.

Hashim said the EC was of the view that Suhakam’s involvement in election observation was unnecessary as the EC had invited foreign observers and appointed independent and non-aligned parties to observe and monitor the GE14 process.

In addition, he said the law also provides the rights for all contesting candidates and parties to appoint their agents as observers in every GE14 process.

The number of agents of the candidates and parties involved in the GE14 was estimated to exceed 200,000.

“As an election management body with integrity, as well as being independent and fair, entrusted by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, the EC will ensure that every process of the GE14 handled by more than 250,000 civilians (election workers) will be transparent and fair without pressure and intervention from any party,” he said.

Hashim added the EC had always respected the fundamental rights of the people in accordance with the law and had never restricted any citizen to exercise their rights to participate in the democratic process of the country.

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