Election Commission should launch a fast-track voters’ registration campaign  to allow for monthly update of the electoral roll  and after dissolution of Parliament at least a 10-day period for final voter registration

Media Statement
by Lim Kit Siang

(PenangMonday): It is downright outrageous and scandalous  that come next general election,  there will be some two  million eligible  voters who have not yet registered on the electoral roll who will lose their constitutional right to vote and some three million phantom voters out of a total registered  electorate of some 10 million voters.

Election Commission secretary Datuk Wan Ahmad Wan Omar announced on Saturday  that there are  still some 1.7 million eligible Malaysians who have yet to be registered as of Dec. 31, and who would not be able to exercise their constitutional right to vote  should the general election take place in the first or second quarter of this year.

Since five years ago, I had pointed out again and again that if in New Zealand, a voter could vote in a general election after registration 24 hours before the polling day, there is no reason why the Election Commission is so incompetent and inefficient that it  must take three to six  months (or close to nine months before the 1999 general election) to enfranchise a qualified voter.  Why is the Malaysian voter registration system so backward as compared to that of other countries like New Zealand, when we can boast of having the tallest twin towers in the world?

The Election Commission would have failed to discharge its  most fundamental constitutional duty and mandate to conduct free, fair and clean elections if some two million eligible voters are disenfranchised of their right to vote in the next general election because of a shockingly inefficient voters’ registration system – as apart from the backlog of 1.7 million unregistered voters of Dec. 31, every day more Malaysians are reaching the qualifying age of 21.

DAP calls on the Election Commission not to fail its constitutional duty and mandate and  to deprive the constitutional right of  eligible Malaysians  to vote in the next general election by launching a  fast-track voters’ registration campaign  to allow for monthly update of the electoral roll  and after dissolution of Parliament at least a 10-day period for final voter registration. 

If the Election Commission is incapable of ensuring free, fair and clean election campaign to check the evils of the 3Ms electoral abuses of the politics of money, media and (government) machinery, the least it should do is to draw up a comprehensive and clean electoral roll, meeting two important criteria, viz: 

  • Ensure a comprehensive and inclusive electoral roll with the highest possible percentage of eligible voters on the electoral register. The Election Commission should aim to register at least 90 per cent of the two  million unregistered voters in time to cast their votes in the next general election.
  • Remove  at least 90 per cent of the some three million “phantom” voters on the electoral roll in a clean-up operation involving the co-operation of all political parties. Both the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and his predecessor Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad  had  previously said  that they had proof of  at least 2.8 million “phantom” voters.  It is a blot on the independence, professionalism and integrity of the Election Commission that some 30 per cent of the electoral roll of some 10 million voters are “phantom voters” with no residential or  work relationships with the constituency he or she is registered to vote and it is not prepared to do anything about it.


* Lim Kit Siang, DAP National Chairman