The Election Commission Chairman, Datuk Abdul Rashid Abdul Rahman declared that the Election Commission was in no position to clean the electotral roll on its own, and that as long as there was no co-operation from government agencies and the public, the roll would continue to contain the names of non-citizens and phantom voters.
He said the only effective way to clean the roll was for the relevant agencies like the National Registration Department, the Immigration Department, courts, police and hospitals to join hands.
He agreed with Justice Muhammad Kamil that the problem of non-citizens registered as voters as disclosed in the Likas election petition was only the top of the iceberg.
He also said that fake Ics were sold in the open in Sabah, including at night markets. The ICs, which were at one time sold at RM700 a piece, were now being sold for as low as RM30.
It is a national shame that despite all the hullabaloo about ISO 9000, IT and K-economy, Malaysia is no different from a third world nation when it cannot even produce a clean electoral roll!
Malaysians must thank Muhammad Kamil for focusing national attention on this long-standing blemish in our electoral system which has been ignored by the authorities despite endless protests by the Opposition, inside Parliament and Sabah State Assembly and outside.
As Muhamad Kamil said in his judgement:
：It is public knowledge that the presence of a large number of illegal immigrants in Sabah has been for quite some years, and that there are numerous cases of illegal immigrants who have been registered in the electoral roll as voters using fake identity cards or identity cards illegally obtained. This is of grave concern to the Sabahans in particular, and in general to all Malaysian citizens.；
As an illustration of the rampant problem of phantom voters using fake identity cards or identity cards obtained illegally, Muhammad Kamil said:
：PW13 Mutalib Md Daud, is a former Executive Secretary for Silam Umno Division and is still a member of Umno. Mutalib was born in Kg. Lanai, Kedah and initially held a Malayan identity card. In 1970 he migrated to Sabah under the ．Untuk kemajuan Ba・ programme and settled down at a village name Kg. Burong, Lahad Datu where he found that a large number of illegal immigrants from Indonesia and Philippines had settled down.
：He observed that there were numerous immigrants who had obtained blue identity cards in a relatively short time, 3 months or 3 years, while it took him 23 years to change his Malayan identity card into an identity card of Sabah through the normal process. He testified that of the 43,000 new Umno members recruited at the time, only 14,000 had genuine blue identity cards, the rest he did not know how they got their blue identity cards.
：From 21st October 1996 there was an exercise to recruit Umno members for 3 days which attracted 10,211 new Umno members. They applied for identity cards, but only 180 applications for identity cards from these members were approved by Jabatan Pendaftaran Negara, and the rest were rejected.
：The instances of non-citizens and phantom voters in the electoral roll as disclosed at the trial may well be the tip of the iceberg. ．Phantom・, according to the Concise Oxford Dictionary, Ninth Edition, means a form without substance or reality; a ghost; a specter, and in the context of a phantom voter, it means that the voter is a non-citizen who is in an electoral roll by virtue of a fake identity card or identity card obtained illegally. It cannot be denied that the registration of voters in the Likas electoral roll was in contravention of the law. No one, including the government department or institution, is above the law.
：It is common knowledge that an influx of illegal immigrants has plagued Sabah for some years. It is a well known fact as it had appeared in the local dailies too frequently. The SPR ought to be aware of it and when the objections were raised as in this case, the SPR ought to have held a public inquiry as prescribed by the election laws.
：The exposure of fraudulent practices such as massive registration of phantom voters is time-consuming. However, it has to be done if we wish to defend and preserve the meaningful practice of democracy in Malaysia. As custodians of free and fair elections, the SPR is duty-bound to do it.；
It is obvious from the judgement that there are large numbers of UMNO members in Sabah who are ：phantom members； having acquired membership by virtue of a fake identity card or identity card obtained illegally.
Is the UMNO leadership prepared to clean up the Sabah UMNO membership register and rid it of all non-citizens and phantom members?
If not, it is unlikely that the directive by the Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi to all government departments and agencies to give their fullest co-operation to the Election Commission to help clean the electoral roll will bear any fruit.
For a start, let Sabah UMNO clean up its state UMNO membership list to demonstrate that the government leadership is serious in wanting to co-operate with the Election Commission to clean up the electoral roll of non-citizens and phantom voters.