Is it lawful to use 2003 master electoral roll, to be gazetted in the second week of March, in the general election if parliament is dissolved before its gazette?
by Lim Kit Siang
(Petaling Jaya, Saturday): The announcement by the Election Commission secretary, Datuk Wan Ahmad Wan Omar, that the 2003 master electoral roll, incorporating the new registered voters for the last quarter of the year, will only be ready after it is certified and gazetted in the second week of March, has raised the legal question as to whether it could be used for the next general election if parliament is dissolved before the gazette of the master roll.
It is likely that the matter may be taken to court for a decision of the validity of the 2003 mater electoral roll for the next general election in such circumstances.
In his book, “The Conduct of Election in Malaysia” by the Election Commission Chairman Tan Sri Rashid Rahman, he said “if any election was declared after any roll was certified, it will automatically be declared the roll to be used for that particular election.”
It is very clear therefore that if the 2003 master electoral roll is declared after the dissolution of parliament, it could not be used for the polling purpose for that election.
One way to overcome this problem is for parliament to be dissolved only after the certification and gazette of the 2003 master electoral roll in the second week of March.
This of course raises the problem of the official opening of the new parliamentary session by the Yang di Pertuan Agong on March 8, as to whether it would have to be held as scheduled until the gazette of the 2003 master electoral roll where parliament could be dissolved.
There should be a simple solution to this problem. The Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi can advise the Yang di Pertuan Agong in advance that parliament will be dissolved in the second week of March after the gazette of the 2003 master electoral roll and that in the circumstances, to cancel notification for the summoning of parliament and its official opening scheduled on March 8.
* Lim Kit Siang, DAP National Chairman