Election Commission of Malaysia

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Election Commission of Malaysia (EC)
Suruhanjaya Pilihan Raya Malaysia
(SPR)
Malaysia SPR.jpg
Agency logo
Suruhanjaya Pilihan Raya Latest.jpg
Commission overview
Formed 4 September 1957; 61 years ago (1957-09-04)
Type Regulating and conducting elections in Malaysia
Jurisdiction Government of Malaysia
Headquarters No.2, Jalan P2T, Presint 2, Pusat Pentadbiran Kerajaan Persekutuan, 62100, Putrajaya
Motto Efficient and Transparent (Cekap dan Telus)
Employees 755 (2017)
Annual budget MYR 48,634,000 (2017)
Commission executives
  • Azhar Harun, Chairman
  • Othman Mahmood, Deputy Chairman
  • Mohamed Elias Abu Bakar, Secretary
Parent department Prime Minister's Department
Key document
  • Article 114 of the Federal Constitution of Malaysia
Website www.spr.gov.my
Coat of arms of Malaysia.svg
This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
Malaysia

Election Commission of Malaysia (Malay: Suruhanjaya Pilihan Raya Malaysia), abbreviated SPR or EC, is a commission set up by virtue of Article 114 of the Federal Constitution for the purpose of ensuring fair and equitable operations in undertaking parliamentary and state elections in Malaysia.

History[edit]

EC was formed on 4 September 1957, under Article 114 of the Constitution of Malaysia, which empowers it to conduct elections for the Dewan Rakyat and state legislative assemblies.

At its establishment, EC only consisted of a chairman and two members – Dr Mustafa Albakri Hassan together with Lee Ewe Boon and Ditt Singh. After the formation of Malaysia in 1963 and the inclusion of Sabah and Sarawak, another member was added to represent the two states on a rotation basis. Datuk Abang Marzuki Nor from Sarawak was the first such member appointed.

A secretariat was also set up to fulfil the commission's functions and carry out its decisions, with a secretary made the chief executive officer. The first EC secretary was H. Cassidy.

An amendment to Article 114 made in 1981 provided for the new post of a deputy chairman, and Abdul Rahman Abdul Hassan was the first to hold this position.

Today, the EC has a chairman, a deputy chairman and five members, all appointed by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong after consulting the Conference of Rulers.

Constitutional mandate[edit]

Under Article 114, EC is empowered to "conduct elections to the House of Representatives (Dewan Rakyat, the lower house of Parliament) and the Legislative Assemblies of the States". Under the Constitution of the independent Federation of Malaya, EC comprised one Chairman and two members, but after Malaya merged with North Borneo, Sarawak and Singapore to form Malaysia, the membership was expanded by constitutional amendment to provide for an additional member from Sabah or Sarawak. A 1981 amendment to the Constitution added another member and created the post of Deputy Chairman.[1]

EC has the power to delimit constituencies, revise the electoral roll of registered voters, and regulate the manner in which elections are conducted. Although the Constitution does not refer to EC as being a body independent from influence by the government or otherwise, constitutional scholars have generally considered the Constitution as intending to protect the independence of EC.[citation needed] Among other things, commissioners are protected by tenure, and may only be removed through the same procedure as a judge of the Supreme Court. The terms of remuneration of a commissioner cannot be altered to his disadvantage after he has been appointed.[1]

Members of EC are appointed by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, who must consult with the Conference of Rulers and appoint an EC which has the confidence of the public. Although the Constitution does not expressly require consultation with the Prime Minister in this regard, it has been argued that under Article 40 of the Constitution, the Yang di-Pertuan Agong cannot act on his own discretion unless explicitly stated; in all other cases, he must acquiesce to the advice of the Prime Minister, and as such the appointments to EC are made with the advice of the Prime Minister. Members of the Commission retire at the age of 65.[2]

Functions[edit]

Apart from regulating elections, the EC's duties include reviewing the boundaries of parliamentary and state constituencies, holding by-elections and carrying out registration exercises.

It also collects information on newly developed areas to ensure a fair representation of voters in each constituency, promotes awareness on how important it is to vote and revises the electoral roll by deleting the names of those who are dead or have been disqualified.

On polling day, EC members and officers will be stationed at polling centre nationwide to oversee the process.

Controversies[edit]

The EC has been accused of being half-hearted in electoral reforms and in 2012, the chairperson and the deputy chairperson was accused to be members of the ruling party. Both individuals admitted to may have been members at some point, but the deputy chairperson later retracted the admission and denounced it as an attempt to besmirch the EC.[3]

During the 14th general election, EC was accused of allowing gross gerrymandering and malapportionment practices by the incumbent government. It was also reprimanded as the ballot counting process was the longest in Malaysia's history[citation needed], with the results still being streamed in after 4 a.m. MYT of the following day (10 May). EC has also been accused of making the election day on a weekday rather a weekend. It currently denies that it tried to stop overseas Malaysians to vote.

Chairmen since 1957[edit]

No. Name Term start Term end
1 Mustapha Albakri Hassan 4 September 1957 15 October 1967
2 Ahmad Perang 16 October 1967 9 August 1977
3 Abdul Kadir Talib 10 August 1977 11 October 1990
4 Harun Din 12 October 1990 20 June 1999
5 Omar Mohd Hashim 21 June 1999 11 November 2000
6 Abdul Rashid Abdul Rahman 12 November 2000 30 December 2008
7 Abdul Aziz Mohd. Yusof 31 December 2008 24 January 2016
8 Mohd. Hashim Abdullah 24 January 2016 30 June 2018
9 Azhar Harun 21 September 2018 Present

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ a b Rachagan, S. Sothi (1993). Law and the Electoral Process in Malaysia, pp. 28–29. Kuala Lumpur: University of Malaya Press. ISBN 967-9940-45-4.
  2. ^ Rachagan, pp. 28–30.
  3. ^ Mustafa Kamal, Shazwan (2 May 2012). "EC No 2 denies he is Umno member". The Malaysian Insider. Archived from the original on 2012-05-04.

External links[edit]