Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim mingles with the locals at the GBU Eating Point in Port Dickson. - NSTP/HAZREEN MOHAMAD

PORT DICKSON: The Electoral Reform Committee (ERC), set up to review Malaysia’s electoral system and laws, has reprimanded some of the unnecessary activities that occured during the Port Dickson by-election campaign activities for Pakatan Harapan's (PH) candidate, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

The committee chairman, Tan Sri Abdul Rashid Abdul Rahman, said the activities include the presence of two ministers here, a free dinner and the presence of his wife, Datin Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, in her capacity as the Deputy Prime Minister.

“The Minister came and made promises and that should not happen during this time (campaign period).

“As for the free dinner, it’s not okay. Others too should not organise free dinners for candidates because it is against the law.

“The presence of Dr Wan Azizah as the wife to the candidate and PKR president is not an offense, but to introduce her as the Deputy Prime Minister in campaign events was ‘not very correct’ and ‘not proper’,” he said at a press conference, here, today.

Abdul Rashid said, in comparison to the previous Barisan Nasional (BN) government, there were not much abuse of government machinery and facilities committed by the present government.

In fact, he said, the offenses committed were deemed as ‘unintentional’ which were still shadowed by old practices.

He said ERC, which had been given two years to conduct an election-reformation survey by the government, expected a complete change in the system in Malaysia which would be seen in the 15th General Election (GE 15).

Among the components being looked at to enhance the Election Commission (EC) as well as to review electoral laws, include the possibility of changing the electoral system which is from the most votes cast as practised today to the proportional representation used in many other countries.

“The study also includes a ban on media control by the government so that all candidates can get balanced coverage, as well as banning the use of machinery and government facilities for campaigns involving the ruling party.

“We are also conducting a study on nomination and polling day which are conducted in a festive manner that can trigger fights like those in African countries,” he said.

Abdul Rashid said the practice of using too many campaign materials including posters was also included in the study.

He said the study focused on strengthening the EC itself, including giving the commission the freedom and power to enforce laws.

He said consideration was also made to ensure the election of its chairman was done by taking into account the opinion of the people.

He also agreed with the proposal to create a special law to prevent MPs from deliberately evacuating their seats, but stressed that it did not have to be put under the purview of the EC, instead it was more suited under Parliament.

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