Tuesday, May 27, 2008

NGOs hail electoral roll move, but doubts remain

The Star : Tuesday May 27, 2008

PETALING JAYA: Non-governmental organisations welcome the move to create a new electoral roll but the big question is – will the new roll be free of the problems that dog the current one?

Merdeka Centre executive chairman Ibrahim Suffian said the move by the Election Commission (EC) to draw up a new roll might be able to restore the confidence of the people towards the election process.

“All parties should support EC’s proposal,” Ibrahim said when commenting on The Star’s front-page report on EC chairman Tan Sri Abdul Rashid Abdul Rahman proposing a fresh electoral roll where existing voters would have to re-register.

“It is time for the country to have a new voter registration system since there is no clear updating system currently,” he said.

Malaysians for Free Elections (Mafrel) acting chairman Syed Ibrahim Syed Noh said he welcomed the proposal because it would clear all doubts about the current roll.

“We would like to know the process in which the new roll will be drawn up,” he said.

A member of Coalition for Clean and Fair Election (Bersih) Liew Chin Tong said the EC should have an automatic voter registration based on the National Registration Department’s database.

Liew, who is also Bukit Bendera MP, said this should be done rather than a re-registration process and any voluntary re-registration process might deprive more voters from exercising their rights.

“The best way out is to have an automatic voter registration system based on the National Registration Department’s database which, since July 16, 2002, has been linked to the Election Commission,” he said in a press statement yesterday.

“It is of course comforting that the EC has finally come to realise that the current roll lacks integrity and fails to ensure a clean, free and fair election. However, Rashid’s solution is worrying.”

He said if the EC remained an arm of the Prime Minister’s Department, there was no guarantee that the re-registration exercise might not result in more manipulation of the roll.

No comments: