King Appoints 5 New EC Members Including Law Lecturer Azmi Sharom And Bersih 2.0 Activist

Azmi has been appointed deputy chairperson of the EC.

Cover image via theSundaily & Zoe Randhawa (edited)

The Election Commission of Malaysia (EC) has five new members, as appointed by Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri'ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah

Among the five new EC members, one is Azmi Sharom, a law lecturer at Universiti Malaya, and the other is Zoe Randhawa, who is a resource officer at Bersih 2.0.

The other three are former Foreign Ministry chief secretary Ramlan Ibrahim, former Human Resource Ministry director-general Chin Paik Yoong, and Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia senior fellow Faisal S Hazis, according to a report in Malaysiakini.

Image via Malaysiakini

Azmi Sharom will assist the EC chairman Azhar Harun, as his deputy. The decision to appoint Azmi, who is an outspoken academic, is a major signal of the Pakatan Harapan Government's commitment towards its pledged reform of the election system.

In 2014, Azmi was arrested and charged for making allegedly seditious remarks. However, his case was dropped by prosecutors in 2016.

And with the appointment of Zoe Randhawa, the electoral watchdog, Bersih 2.0, that has long campaigned for free and fair elections in the country will finally be directly involved in reforming Malaysia's voting system, reported Malay Mail.

Chief Secretary to Government Ismail Bakar said the new members' term would begin on the day they report for duty and will expire when they reach 66 years of age.

The new appointments have broken several conventions

According to Malaysiakini, the Election Commission members are usually chosen from amongst retired senior civil servants with one seat conventionally reserved for former top-ranking police personnel. However, the current line-up of EC members has none.

Meanwhile, Court of Appeal Judge Datuk Hamid Sultan Abu Backer has filed a 63-page affidavit yesterday, 14 January, alleging misconduct by top members of the judiciary:

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