Malaysia: Reform of the Election Commission – Najib as ‘pontifex’ (bridge-builder)?

bridgePartyforumseasia:The narrow election victory of the Barisan Nasional coalition under PM Najib comes at a price which the PM has increased himself with the incautious (to say it mildly) remark about the “Chinese tsunami“. The campaign has cruelly exposed the political cleavages in Malaysia’s complex mix of ethnicity, religion, geography, and social stratification, some of them the result of long term government policies.
In this situation, the PM calls for unity and reconciliation which may sound a bit desperate for many critics of the ruling party. But inviting the opposition to participate in a reform of the controversial Election Commission is certainly a good move. It may only come a bit too early since the backlog of fraud complaints for the 5th May election has not even started to be cleared. Including the expected law suits it may take a year. And critics are not optimistic about the results of a mixed committee, the most prominent of them the leader of the election watchdog Bersih, Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan.