Monday, May 26, 2008

EC wants fresh voter roll

The Star : Monday May 26, 2008

PUTRAJAYA: The Election Commission wants a fresh voter roll and this will involve the re-registration of the 10.9 million Malaysians who are already registered as voters. EC chairman Tan Sri Abdul Rashid Abdul Rahman said a new roll which catered to the current needs was necessary and would be acceptable to all parties.

“The new registration exercise will be held if the Government accepts the proposal. We hope the proposal will be accepted,” he said this during an interview with mStar Online, The Star's Malay news portal.

Abdul Rashid said the EC would propose to the Government to have a special law to enable the drawing up of a new roll after the commission’s 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. Abdul Rashid likened the existing roll as a “thorn in his flesh” because it had come under heavy criticism from many quarters. The current roll contains the names of 10.9 million voters. It excludes another four million people who are eligible to vote but have not registered.
Political parties have alleged that the current voter list, which has been updated from time to time since the last 50 years, did not have the most recent records. They also alleged that it contained phantom voters. 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.

Abdul Rashid said that the entire process of preparing the bill and new registration exercise would take up to two years. As such, a fresh roll would be ready in time for the 13th general election.

“It will depend on whether the Government will approve it or if a study needs to be carried out,” he said.
The entire process will include registration, exhibition of the new roll, investigation into any objections, re-exhibition and the preparation of the new master list. Abdul Rashid said the EC would also need to discuss the matter at length with the political parties.

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