PUTRAJAYA, July 19 – The Election Commission (EC) has appointed the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam), Bersih 2.0, Engage, Kelab Pemikir Politik Nasional, Persatuan Orang Kota Bharu and Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia to serve as observers in the Sungai Kandis by-election.
The commission’s secretary, Datuk Mohamed Elias, who attended a two-day briefing session with 69 participants from the six organisations, said the objective was to increase their knowledge and understanding of the election process, observers’ code of ethics and the country’s election laws.
“It is hoped that the observers will evaluate the voting process on the basis of rules and procedures set by the EC,” he said.
“We hope they will not obstruct the election process and be fair in their reports.
“They should not only look at the weaknesses and mistakes made by EC officers, but also suggest improvements.”
Acting Bersih 2.0 chairman Shahrul Aman Mohd Saari hailed EC’s move to engage with non-governmental organisations as the kind of openness that they have been expecting.
“The invitation by EC for Bersih 2.0 to be part of the election process is definitely in the spirit of a new Malaysia,” he said.
“It will pave the way to greater transparency and understanding of the election process for the NGOs.
“This is the right way for both parties to help one other and understand one of the most critical processes in the country.”
Suhakam commissioner Datuk Lok Yim Pheng said: “We have been given the opportunity to be briefed on the election process,” she said.
“This kind of cooperation and transparency is what we have been hoping for.”
The by-election will be held on Aug 4. Nomination will take place on Saturday (July 21) and the campaign period is 14 days.
The state seat, which comes under the Kota Raja parliamentary seat, fell vacant after PKR incumbent assemblyman Mat Shuhaimi Shafie passed away on July 2 due to lymphatic cancer.
In the 14th General Election, Sungai Kandis saw a four-cornered fight, with Shuhaimi defending his seat against Barisan Nasional’s Datuk Kamaruzzaman Johari, Pas’s Mohd Yusof Abdullah and Parti Rakyat Malaysia’s Hanafiah Husin.