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Transparency International Malaysia declines to be polls observer
Publication Date : 08-01-2013
Transparency International Malaysia (TI-M) has declined the Election Commission's (EC) invitation to be one of the five local observers at the next general election due to reservations over some of the terms set.
The withdrawal has however not gone down well with one of the remaining four bodies, which hit out at TI-M for failing to register its “strong reservations” with the EC before declining the offer.
In a statement, TI-M said that apart from the terms of reference, it rejected the offer because it believed that additional civil society groups such as Mafrel (Malaysians for Free and Fair Elections) should also be roped in as observers.
“However, TI-M is willing to continue to engage with the EC to continue to reform various laws related to elections,” the group said in its statement.
Besides TI-M, the other groups invited by EC to be local observers are polling research outfit Merdeka Centre, the Centre for Public Policy Studies under the Asian Strategy and Leadership Institute (Asli), the Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (IDEAS) and the Malaysian Youth Council.
TI-M's move prompted a strongly worded statement by IDEAS chief executive Wan Saiful Wan Jan.
He questioned TI-M decision to pull out, especially after all the groups had agreed on a compromise on the terms and conditions in their last meeting with the EC.
Wan Saiful stressed that all groups and not just TI-M alone had negotiated for months with the EC to ensure that the observer rules imposed were in compliance with international standards.
“If TI-M had such strong reservations, why did it not put up a strong argument to the EC when we were sitting face to face?” asked Wan Saiful.
Election Commission deputy chairman Wan Ahmad Wan Omar said the withdrawal would not affect plans to have local observers because all the other groups have accepted the EC offer in writing.
Wan Ahmad also said there was no need to identify another group to fill TI-M's slot.