Study ongoing on how Parliament can vet MACC, Suhakam appointments

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Liew Vui Keong.

KUALA LUMPUR: Putrajaya is still studying how to implement Pakatan Harapan’s pledge to ensure appointments of commissioners for Suhakam, the MACC or the Election Commission are vetted by Parliament first.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Liew Vui Keong said the study is ongoing, adding its aim is to determine if such a move will be in line with the Federal Constitution and relevant laws.

“This takes into account the fact that some of these commissions have their own laws and acts on how their commissioners are appointed,” Liew said in a written parliamentary reply to Johari Abdul (PH-Sungai Petani) today.

PH’s election manifesto had stated that the appointment of commissioners from Suhakam, the EC, MACC and the Judicial Appointments Commission (JAC) will be done through a parliamentary committee.

So far, PH has established a quota to ensure civil society representatives become members of the EC, with the EC being placed under Parliament’s watch.

All four commissions have been given the green light to operate as independent entities that report directly to Parliament. They were previously parked directly under the Prime Minister’s Department.

Meanwhile, Liew (Warisan-Batu Sapi), who is in charge of legal affairs, also said that a detailed study is under way to see how automatic voter registration can be carried out in the country.

In a written parliamentary reply to Ahmad Maslan (BN-Pontian), Liew said the Electoral Reform Committee (ERC), together with the EC, is carrying out the study, which would require amendments to current laws.

The EC and the ERC will also be studying what system should be used and what is required, Liew said.

He also said that at the end of last year, 3.89 million Malaysians aged above 21 had not registered as voters.

EC chairman Azhar Harun has since said automatic voter registration will take time as it is not as simple as it sounds.

This is because the Federal Constitution allows a person to vote where they were first registered as a voter — even if the voter is staying elsewhere.

Officials have since said that automatic voter registration can only be implemented if Article 119(4) of the constitution and the Registration of Electors Regulations 2002 are amended.

Calls have been made to introduce the automatic voter system now that Putrajaya plans to reduce the minimum voting age from 21 to 18 so that more voters can be added to the electoral roll.