I congratulate Azhar [email protected] a.k.a Art Harun for his appointment as EC Chairman. Netizens in my circle believe he will do well at it and so do I.
Opposition MP, Khairy Jamaluddin also shared his confidence in Azhar helming the EC though he urged Azhar not to accept the appointment. KJ said the appointment is against PH manifesto.
Firstly, I applaud KJ for reminding PH about its election promise on this particular issue. Where no other opposition members seem to be functional, KJ’s comment is at times important.
Having said that, I think KJ should leave Art out of his politics because Art is not a politician. He is not a member of any political party and he’s just doing a national service.
Pakatan Manifesto – Promise 17
KJ was referring to Promise 17, in the PH GE14 Manifesto. It’s a long one but I’ll just mention the necessary.
“The PH Government will free the Election Commission from the grips of the Prime Minister and other politicians by placing the EC fully under Parliamentary monitoring.”
Furthermore, “Appointment of members of the EC will be through the process of approval by the Parliament”.
Yes, KJ can argue that this is against the PH manifesto but it is not that simple.
PH cannot immediately fulfill this promise because to put the EC under the Parliament should require constitutional amendment.
Article 114 of the Federal Constitution says:
1) The election Commission shall be appointed by the Yang Di-Pertuan Agong after consultation with the Conference of Rulers, and shall consist of a chairman, a deputy chairman and five other members.
So, at this juncture, it is still constitutional for the Agong to appoint the committee members without going through Parliament.
For PH to keep its Promise 17, they will need to table a constitutional amendment which will require 2/3 majority vote from the MPs.
PH do not have 2/3 majority to ensure this and even if they do, will Dewan Negara still full of BN senators block it?
They did this with the Anti Fake News Act repeal motion and it will delay it for year. They also rejected the SST bill, which being a Monetary bill gets delayed by only 30 days.
KJ should know how his friends in the senate will play this, so whilst his comment is a good reminder, it is also very cheeky.
Work on Promise 17 later
In avoiding unnecessary hazards, we can have EC appointments starting with Azhar Harun based on the existing Constitution.
PH can work on the constitutional amendment later so that Promise 17 can be kept.
This is also why, as I have suggested earlier, that we need more PH senators in Dewan Negara to provide the balance.
I also suggested in my Open Letter to Anwar Ibrahim, that he is the right man to reform Dewan Negara before he makes a return to Dewan Rakyat.
-By Mujahidin Zulkiffli