Election Commission should target to register the 1.7 million eligible voters in the country and not just 13,000 new voters in Putrajaya if the Election Commission wants to claim that it is ready for general election
by Lim Kit Siang
(Petaling Jaya, Thursday): The Election Commission Chairman Datuk Wira Abdul Rashid Abdul Rahman has launched a special voter registration campaign for Putrajaya, hoping to register 15,000 voters for the new parliamentary constituency from the present 2,566 registered voters.
This campaign involved the Election Commission visiting the ministries in Putrajaya to court their officers to re-register, including setting up special counters with the National Registration Department to enable officers who changed their addresses on their identity cards to immediately sign up with the Election Commission. This will be followed by a door-to-door voter registration campaign.
The Election Commission should target to register the 1.7 million eligible voters in the country and not just 13,000 new voters in Putrajaya if the Election Commission wants to claim that it is ready for general election.
It must be regarded as a blot on the Election Commission that eligible but unregistered voters are as high as 1.7 million people after some nine months of the year-round voter-registration campaign.
The Election Commission has got a perverted order of priorities when it could regard the registration of 13,000 new voters in Putrajaya as more important than the registration of 1.7 million eligible but unregistered voters in the country.
There is nothing wrong with the Election Commission launching a ministry-to-ministry and house-to-house campaign to register voters in Putrajaya, but such a campaign must be nation-wide covering all constituencies and cannot be confined just to Putrajaya.
It has been reported that Pos Malaysia Bhd. registered 126,000 voters at its 640 post offices over the past seven months, which is a ridiculously low figure, working out to an average of 196 each in the past seven months or 27 per month or just less than one voter registration for each post office a day.
The Election Commission should not lose sight of its constitutional mandate and responsibility to conduct free, fair and clean elections and one of the pillars of such a duty is to ensure a honest and authoritative electoral register where there is the highest possible registration of eligible voters and the removal of all phantom voters.
The Election Commission should convene an all-party round-table conference to enlist the co-operation of all political parties as well as the civil society to launch a nation-wide campaign in all electoral constituencies to draw up such an electoral roll before the next general election – as high a percentage of voter registration and the removal of every phantom voter.
* Lim Kit Siang, DAP National Chairman