(Petaling Jaya, Wednesday): The Election Commission has said that it is all geared up for the general election and is in the process of appointing 108,000 officers and staff to handle the exercise. Once identified, these officers and staff will be appointed from among government servants who will undergo a special training programme.
However, the biggest challenge for the Election Commission is to ensure that the 650,000 new voters who registered in the votersí registration exercise in April/May could exercise their constitutional right to vote in the next general election.
From the statement by Election Commission spokesman Aszahari Abdul Rahman yesterday, it is clear that if the general election is held in September, the 650,000 new voters who registered in May would not be able to cast their votes.
This is most scandalous and a blot on the democratic system. The Election Commission should explain why in this new era of Information Technology (IT), it should still require the pre-IT period of five to six months to complete its annual preparation of a new electoral roll.
If the Election Commission faces problems of expertise, it should be prepared to invite consultants from the private sector to ensure that the 650,000 new voters who registered in May could be placed on the new electoral roll within three months - including the 14-day period for public inspection and objection for the draft electoral roll.
The Election Commission should give this matter urgent priority attention, especially as general elections are held once in four to five years and it must make every attempt to ensure that the maximum number of eligible voters are capable of exercising their constitutional right to determine the political future of Malaysia in the 10th general election in the nationís history.