Call for EC chairman, members to resign illogical, says Bersih 2.0

Bersih 2.0 says EC chairman Azhar Azizan Harun and his commissioners were appointed by the king.

PETALING JAYA: Electoral reform group Bersih 2.0 has slammed a call for Election Commission chairman Azhar Azizan Harun to resign, describing it as an attack on EC’s integrity, the Federal Constitution and Malaysia’s democracy.

Bersih 2.0 said that as a constitutional body, the EC’s chairman and its commissioners were appointed by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong and will only cease to hold office once they turn 66 or have been dismissed by the King.

Therefore, it said, the call by former EC deputy chairman Wan Ahmad Wan Omar for them to step down was illogical.

“Wan Ahmad’s call for the EC’s resignation revealed not only his shallow knowledge of democracy and the Federal Constitution but also his self-perception as a political appointee when he was the EC’s secretary (1998-2004) and then its deputy chair (2004-2013).

“No wonder the EC during the years of 1998-2013 had failed to convince the people that they discharged their duty independently and with integrity,” Bersih 2.0 said in a statement today.

Wan Ahmad had urged Azhar and his commissioners yesterday to resign following the collapse of the Pakatan Harapan government last week “to ensure the EC remains independent and neutral”.

He also accused the current lineup of being pro-PH activists.

But Bersih 2.0 said the EC under Azhar had introduced many reforms, including requiring candidates to pledge not to violate the Election Offences Act; verifying the existence of registered voters, and making live broadcast of the vote-counting process.

It said the EC had also not committed any action or misconduct that violated the Federal Constitution or the laws or the principles of free and fair elections.

“Overall, the EC today is better, more transparent and open than the EC during the Barisan Nasional era,” it said.