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Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Malaysia: Committee made up of all parties to discuss electoral reform before polls

KUALA LUMPUR: A parliamentary select committee will be formed to discuss issues related to electoral reform before the next general election, said Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

The Prime Minister said the committee would comprise representatives from the Government and opposition parties.

“The committee will discuss all electoral reform issues so that when the next general election is held, there will be no suspicion of manipulation,” he said at the breaking of fast with the media fraternity hosted by Bernama here last night.

“We will only want to form a government if the rakyat truly chooses Barisan Nasional. This is the message to all and I do not want any misconception that we do not want a free and fair election.

“As I have said before, I do not want to be a prime minister, and my colleagues do not want to be ministers, without the people's support.”

According to Bernama, the committee would have its first meeting tomorrow. The members would discuss “everything that needs to be done” and reach a consensus on the matter.

The Prime Minister reiterated the Government's commitment to a parliamentary democracy which must be continued as it would benefit the rakyat, adding that even though there were weaknesses in democracy, what was important was that the people had the right to choose.

Najib said when his father, Tun Abdul Razak, headed the Majlis Gerakan Negara after the May 13 riots in 1969, he had said he feared the power that he had, adding that while he did not understand his father then, he fully understood him now.

He said while it was still fashionable in some countries for its leaders to have absolute power, the Government believed in the importance to continue upholding parliamentary democracy.

“We place our fate in the people. If we are lucky, we will be elected. What is important is that our conscience is clear and that we are here to serve the people.

“We are a government that fights for the people's welfare and prosperity and puts their interests first.”

In an immediate reaction, Deputy Higher Education Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah said Najib's announcement showed that he was truly committed to have political transformation in a democracy where the people were more aware of their rights and roles.

DAP deputy chairman Dr Tan Seng Giaw said he felt such a committee could rectify the weaknesses in Malaysia's electoral system.

“But first, we want to know the terms of reference of this committee,” said Tan who is also the deputy chairman of the parliamentary public accounts committee.

Petaling Jaya Utara MP Tony Pua said the DAP was looking forward to its participation in the committee.

ORIGINAL POST: http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2011/8/16/nation/9308326&sec=nation


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