DAP lawmaker Tony Pua today accused the Election Commission (EC) of deliberately slowing down the registration of new Malaysian voters.
“Instead of making concrete and concerted efforts in collaboration with all parties to increase the number of voters registered, the EC is doing its utmost to slow down new registrations,” Pua told a press conference at the DAP Selangor headquarters.
“The EC being the only institution who can register new voters in the country, is pro-actively stalling and impeding the registration of new voters,” he said, citing the EC’s recent reminder to DAP to cancel all their planned voter registration campaigns after October 3, because they (EC) had to handle objections to the proposed redelineation exercise.
“At best, the EC’s actions show that they are incompetent and are abdicating their responsibility, that is to ensure qualified voters are able to vote.
“At worst, they are clearly sabotaging the electoral process by denying these voters their basic rights,” Pua said.
He added that as of April 2016, there are 17.6 million qualified voters in the country, but that only 13.4 million of them are registered.
“4.2 million of them remain disenfranchised. This means that nearly one in four voters are not able to exercise their rights enshrined in the Constitution, should an election be called today,” the DAP National Publicity Secretary said.
Pua also brought up the move by the EC, in 2013, to cease the appointment of Assistant Registration Officers (AROs) from political parties to assist in the registration exercise.
“The impact and difference is telling. In 2011 alone, 1,023,170 Malaysians were registered as new voters.
“However, the three years from 2013 to 2015 only saw a total of 617,254 voters registered, or an average of 205,751 voters per annum,” Pua said.
Referring to Bersih 2.0’s proposal to the EC to enable the automatic registration of voters, Pua said it was the best way to get around the voter registration process.
“But since they have persistently refused to introduce such a move, so, we call on the EC to be more serious about the registration of new voters.
“If it is unable to carry out its responsibilities on its own, then it should start using its powers to appoint thousands of AROs across the country.”
Pua had previously accused the EC of electoral gerrymandering via its published redelineation proposal, scheduled to take effect before the next general election.
Two weeks ago, the EC had announced a name change for 12 parliamentary seats and 34 state seats in the peninsula, without adding any constituencies.
EC Secretary Abdul Ghani Salleh had said the review of constituency boundaries was implemented according to the provisions of Clause (2) Article 113 of the Federal Constitution.
Mikha Chan@FMT Reporters Online