Tuesday, May 27, 2008


EC wants to re-register 10.9 mil voters for fresh roll


Malaysian electoral authorities want a fresh voters roll and have proposed reregistering all 10.9 million voters in a mammoth exercise aimed at silencing allegations of fraud and vote-rigging, a report said Monday. Election Commission Chairman Tan Sri Abdul Rashid Abdul Rahman said the project would take about two years, in time for the next general election unless a snap poll is triggered by current political turmoil. “The new registration exercise will be held if the Government accepts the proposal. We hope the proposal will be accepted,” he said. According to him, a new roll which caters to the current needs is necessary and would be acceptable to all parties. Abdul Rashid said the existing roll was a “thorn in his flesh,” after being condemned by the Opposition and rights activists who say it is deeply flawed and riddled with phantom voters. He said the EC would propose to the Government to have a special law to enable the drawing up of a new roll after its panel members meet on June 9. “We have jurisdiction to only examine and update the current list and not to come up with a fresh list,” he said. He said the proposal was among those brought up in the EC’s post-mortem meeting after the recent elections. Election reform campaigners said ahead of March 8 general election that almost 9,000 voters born more than 100 years ago - including two reported to be 128 years old - were enrolled to vote. The Election Commission controversially abandoned a plan to mark voters’ fingers with indelible ink prior to the elections. Nevertheless, the ruling Barisan Nasional coalition suffered the worst results in its half-century history, losing five states and a third of parliamentary seats to the Opposition. The outcome triggered calls for the resignation of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, as well as splits within his ruling party which commentators say could potentially force the premier to hold fresh elections. Abdul Rashid said the Electoral Commission was capable of handling snap polls if necessary. In Malaysia, another four million people are eligible to vote but have not registered. Between 2004 and March 2008, the EC received 235 complaints concerning the names of voters which were missing from the list. Investigations carried out by the EC later revealed that the names of these voters were omitted due to several factors, including being listed as “doubtful status” after the identity card numbers were confirmed to be missing from the National Registration Department database. Another reason was that the identity card numbers were certified by the Department as belonging to someone else, in some cases dead people. There were also complaints that the names of certain voters were transferred from one constituency to another without their knowledge.
— AFP-Star.