(Petaling Jaya, Thursday):
The storm of controversy over phantom voters on the electoral register after
the Pendang and Anak Bukit by-elections in Kedah have proven that Parliament was
short-sighted and wrong in passing the Elections Amendment Bill
in March this year which, among other things, made the electoral roll
ˇ°final and bindingˇ± which cannot be questioned, challenged or quashed by any
court of law.
All political parties, whether Barisan Nasional, Barisan Alternative and DAP
are unanimous in agreement that the electoral roll is faulty, dishonest and full
of phantom voters ¨C whether ˇ°illegal immigrantˇ±, ˇ°importedˇ± or ˇ°the
deadˇ± ¨C but it is Parliament through its Election Amendment Bill in March
which had not only legalises these
ˇ°phantom votersˇ± but placed their ˇ°phantomˇ±
status beyond any legal challenge ¨C an outrageous piece of myopic legislation.
This should be a salutary lesson and eye-opener to all MPs when Parliament
reconvenes on Monday. According to the Parliamentary Order of Business, the
second bill on the parliamentary agenda is the Election Offences Amendment Bill
¨C scheduling it for debate on Tuesday and possibly even on Monday.
MPs should not repeat the disastrous mistake of enacting another piece of myopic legislation in the form of the Election Offences Amendment Bill, which has many new-fangled and undemocratic provisions which have nothing to do with ensuring the conduct of free, fair and clean elections.
The Election Offences Amendment Bill should be withdrawn from second reading
in Parliament and referred to an all-party Select Committee to conduct
public hearings on how best to curb electoral malpractices, whether phantom
voters or the 3Ms electoral abuses of money, media and government machinery.
The Election Offences Amendment Bill should among other things, make it an offence for a person to fraudulently register as a voter in a constituency where he or she has no residential or work connections, which will go a long way to eliminate the ˇ°imported phantom votersˇ± menace which had been rampant for two decades.