Election reform panel looking into caretaker govt role, conduct

Yiswaree Palansamy
Electoral Reform Committee chairman Tan Sri Abdul Rashid Abdul Rahman speaks to reporters at Putrajaya August 29, 2018. ― Picture by Abdul Razak Ghazali

PUTRAJAYA, Aug 29 — The Election Reforms Committee (ERC) will discuss establishing a proper framework for a caretaker government to run the country for when Parliament is dissolved.

Its chairman Tan Sri Ab Rashid Ab Rahman said there is a crucial need for such a framework as there is currently no law on the matter. He added that even the Election Commission (EC) does not know the role of a caretaker government and how it should function.

“Now, there are no laws or rules. We do it by convention. How should the caretaker government behave? As it is, the EC too does not know how they should behave,” he told a news conference here today.

“After the dissolution, they still continue to run the country. How is that? So they run over other parties too,” he added, the last in jest.

Ab Rashid said a caretaker government does not have the mandate of an elected government and therefore must perform only “ordinary administration”.

He added that the report of the findings and recommendations of the ERC would be made available for public access in stages, to enable feedback and amendments.

The ERC has listed 15 agendas, which it aims to fulfil within the next two years.

Among them are matters relating to elections conduct, campaign funding and expenditures, registration of voters and preparation of electoral rolls as well as a review of the current first-past-the-post election system “to another system considered more appropriate”, and electoral observers.

The ERC was officially announced on August 16, and is placed under the Prime Minister’s Office, tasked with studying ways and making recommendations on reviewing the country’s electoral system and regulations.

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