The Election Commission stopped political parties from registering voters in 2013 because of “many problems”, according to its chairman, Mohd Hashim Abdullah.
He said the commission reaffirmed its position in September last year because of these problems. He did not say what these “problems” were.
Since then, only non-governmental organisations have been allowed to register new voters. About 4.2 million people have still not been registered.
“For example, the Persatuan Silat has many members and they asked if they could register new voters and we said okay. We will also allow the Persatuan Perahu Layar to register new voters. But not political parties,” he was quoted as saying.
The EC decision has been frequently criticised by politicians. In October last year, Kasturi Patto, MP for Batu Kawan, questioned if there were “hidden hands” behind the decision.
Hashim said that political parties, being in the ‘business’ of politics, had certainly helped boost the numbers. “But there were many problems.”
He said the EC was willing to conduct voter registrations at any public event which drew a crowd. Organisers only need to inform the EC of the date, venue and number of people expected and “we will do the rest.”
Hashim said new registrations had amounted to less than 120 a year since the 2013 general election. “Since there are 4.2 million eligible voters, the number of new voters seem rather dismal,” he said, adding that this was due to a lack of awareness.
Of the 4.2 million unregistered voters, 1.8 million or 43 per cent were Malays.
The electoral reform group Bersih 2.0 has accused the EC of deliberately slowing down voter registrations by using a tedious process and giving inadequate notice to the public when the EC set up registration booths.
Source : V Anbalagan@FMT Reporters Online