The Star Online|Malaysia 13th General Election

The Election Commission

The Election Commission (EC) was set up on Sept 4, 1957 under the Article 114 of the Federal Constitution. Its main mission is to supervise and preserve the democratic process in the country through free and fair elections.

The Elections Act 1958 stipulates the functions of the EC and how these functions are to be discharged according to requirements set out in the Federal Constitution.

The functions of the EC
The functions of the EC as set out in the Elections Act 1958 are: a) REVIEW and re-delineate the constituency boundaries of parliamentary and state seats b) TO UNDERTAKE the registration of voters and the review of the electoral roll; and c) To CONDUCT the general election, and by-elections in the event of vacancy of parliamentary or state seats.

Who makes up the EC?
The Election Commission is appointed by Yang di-Pertuan Agong after consultation with the Conference of Rulers.

In appointing members of the Election Commission, the King shall have regard to the importance of securing an Election Commission which enjoys public confidence.

At present there are seven members who form the EC - chairman, deputy chairman and five members including one member each from Sabah and Sarawak. The present chairman of the EC is Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof who has been in the post since Dec 31, 2008.

Retirement and disqualification
Under Article 114 of the Federal Constitution, a member of the Election Commission shall cease to hold office on attaining the age of 65.

A EC member becomes disqualified if he is an undischarged bankrupt or engages in any paid office or employment outside the duties of his office; or is a Member of Parliament or Senate, or of any State Legislative Assembly.

The Secretariat
The Elections Act 1958 enables the EC to appoint officers who will perform the functions of the Commission, and the EC has established a Secretariat to conduct its administrative functions. The secretary is the chief administrative officer for the EC. Presently the head of the secretariat is Datuk Kamaruddin Mohamed Baria.

Under the Federal Constitution, the EC may employ such number of persons to help out in the functions of the EC and that it can seek the help of all public authorities to offer such assistance in the discharge of its duties as may be practicable.