Malaysia forms tribunal to probe alleged misconduct in 2018 elections

Five retired judges from the federal court have been appointed to the tribunal by the country's king, according to a statement by the Malaysian Attorney-General's Chambers.
Five retired judges from the federal court have been appointed to the tribunal by the country's king, according to a statement by the Malaysian Attorney-General's Chambers.PHOTO: AFP

SINGAPORE (DPA) - Malaysia has formed a tribunal to investigate allegations of misconduct by the country's election commission during the 2018 general election, the Attorney-General confirmed on Thursday (Jan 24).

Five retired judges from the federal court have been appointed to the tribunal by the country's king, according to a statement by the Malaysian Attorney-General's Chambers.

News of the decision to form a tribunal was first reported on Oct 17, 2018, by news portal Malaysiakini, quoting unnamed sources in its report.

One day after the news broke, five of the six members of the Election Commission (EC) resigned, with the sixth member eventually tendering his resignation one month after.

In August 2018, electoral reform commission Bersih had sent a letter to Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad urging him to open an investigation into the commission, alleging that 10 offences had been committed, including limitation of voter registration, a shortened campaign period, and manipulation of election observation, among others.

"The members had not only sullied the EC's fairness, independence and integrity, but also violated the people's rights to choose a government as well as threatening the foundations of democracy," then-Bersih acting chairman Shahrul Aman Mohd Saari said, in comments carried by Malaysiakini.

The 2018 general election was considered a watershed moment in the country's history, as it was the first time that an opposition party, led by Tun Dr Mahathir, toppled the incumbent Barisan Nasional party after a 61-year reign.

The tribunal is expected to convene for the first time on Monday.