The Election Commission of Malaysia was established on 4th September 1957 according to Article 114 of the Federal Constitution. During its establishment, the Election Commission comprised of only one Chairman and two (2) members.
The first Chairman of the Election Commission was YBhg. Dato' Dr. Mustafa Albakri bin Haji Hassan, while the members were Mr Lee Ewe Boon and Mr Ditt Singh.
Following the formation of Malaysia in 1963, the number of Commission members was increased to three (3) persons. The additional member was either from Sabah or Sarawak and was appointed on a rotational basis.
YBhg. Datuk Abang Haji Marzuki bin Nor from Sarawak became the first member to represent these two (2) states. In 1981, Article 114 of the Federal Constitution was amended to enable the appointment of a Deputy Chairman. Mr Abdul Rahman bin Abu Hassan became the first person to fill the Deputy Chairman’s position. In 2002, amendment to the Federal Constitution was approved to increase the membership of the Election Commission to seven persons; a Chairman, a Deputy Chairman and five members including one member from Sabah and Sarawak each. In order to carry out its functions, the Election Commission formed a Secretariat that was headed by a Secretary. The secretary serves as a chief administrator to the secretariat. The first appointed secretary was Mr H. Cassidy who served from 1957 until 1958.
Since its inception in 1957 until 1978, the Commission’s Head Office was located at Bangunan Sultan Abdul Samad, Jalan Clark, Kuala Lumpur. From 1978 to 1985, the Election Commission operated at Bangunan Yayasan Selangor, Jalan Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur. In 1985, it relocated to Bangunan Tong Ah, Jalan P. Ramlee and remained in operation there until 1988 before shifting to Level 5-8, Menara Bank Pembangunan, Jalan Sultan Ismail, Kuala Lumpur. In November 2000, the Head Office moved to its current location in Putrajaya.
The main functions of the Election Commission are as below
- Study and redelineate Parliamentary and State Electoral Boundaries not less than every eight (8) years after the date of the previous study and redelineation has been completed;
- Undertake the process of voters registration and electoral roll review; and
- Conduct the general election for Dewan Rakyat (House of Representatives) or State Legislative Assembly, and conduct by-election should there be a vacancy.
The policy of the Election Commission is to preserve, supervise, and maintain the process of democracy in this country through free and fair elections.