Jaya, Saturday): For the first time in Malaysian electoral history, the Prime Minister and the
leader of the ruling coalition is complaining bitterly about phantom voters,
alleging that PAS had padded the electoral list with phantom voters in various
parliamentary and state constituencies in the country
to manipulate the election results.
Speaking at a press conference after chairing the UMNO supreme council
meeting yesterday, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad specifically blamed the
failure of UMNO to win the recent
Pendang parliamentary by-election with a bigger majority and the UMNO
defeat in Anak Bukit state
assembly by-election to such “rigging” of phantom voters in the two
constituencies, claiming that more than 500 phantom voters who were PAS
supporters, “not only from other constituencies in Kedah but from
constituencies as far as Terengganu and Negri Sembilan”, were discovered in
just four ballot boxes.
Mahathir said the Election Commission should take the matter very seriously
as this had indirectly revoked the voting rights of UMNO and Barisan Nasional
supporters who had been illegally transferred out from their voting
constituencies – alleging that 1,359 UMNO supporters could not cast their
votes in the Pendang and Anak Bukit by-elections as their names were removed
from the voting list.
Mahathir’s allegation of PAS rigging of the electoral list with phantom
voters have still to be proven to the satisfaction of independent-minded
Malaysians, although there is no
doubt about the gravity of the abuse of the electoral system by the
long-standing and widespread malpractices of phantom voters.
For the past three decades, the
DAP had been complaining and protesting about phantom voters which had been
planted by Barisan Nasional in various constituencies to rig election results
– but always to no avail.
A week before polling in the 1999
general election, I had exposed the gravity of phantom voters in the Bukit
Bendera parliamentary constituency, and I referred in particular to 279 phantom voters in eight flats and a
Gerakan leader in the constituency which had registered over 70 phantom voters
in his house.
I can sympathise with Mahathir at being upset that UMNO did not win Pendang
by-election with a bigger majority and for losing the Anak Bukit by-election
because of phantom voters (although the allegations of PAS phantom voters in
these two constituencies have still to be proven), as the thousands of
Gerakan phantom voters in Bukit Bendera had caused my 104-vote defeat in
the 1999 parliamentary general election.
But when Mahathir asked the Election Commission to revise the electoral roll
to ensure that it reflect the actual composition of voters, is he suggesting
that the Election Commission should remove the phantom voters which had been put
in by PAS but to leave untouched
the phantom voters which had been planted by Barisan Nasional parties?
Now that both the Opposition and ruling parties have complained about the
rampant nature of phantom voters in constituencies which they had never lived
nor worked and have no business to be there, the Election Commission should wake
up to the fundamental flaws of the electoral list which make a mockery of the
claim that Malaysian elections are free, fair and clean.
DAP calls for a total clean-up
of the electoral list where all phantom voters, whether planted by Barisan
Nasional or any opposition party, are removed to produce a clean electoral list.
There should be a six-month nation-wide clean-up operation involving the Election Commission and all political parties to remove all phantom voters from the electoral list as a first step to ensure a free, fair and clean electoral system.
All phantom voters, who have no business to be registered in a constituency
where they have neither residential nor work connections should be removed from
the electoral roll.
Parliament which meets next month should enact an amendment to the Election
Offences Act to make a “phantom voter”, defined as one who had no
residential or work ties in the constituency where he or she is registered as a
voter, as having committed an election offence.
The total clean-up of phantom voters to produce a clean national electoral list is achievable in six months in a nation-wide house-to-house campaign involving the Election Commission and political parties. The question is whether the Election Commission has the will to clean up all phantom voters from the electoral roll, or has only the mandate to conduct a selective clean-up of phantom voters of opposition parties but not the phantom voters of the Barisan Nasional parties!