Thursday, September 6, 2012

3.1m dubious voters on list for a decade, says Bersih (The Malaysian Insider: April 23, 2012)

The Malaysian Insider

Apr 23, 2012

KUALA LUMPUR, April 23 — Bersih accused the Election Commission (EC) today of failing to investigate 3.1 million voters whose identity card (IC) addresses differ from that in the electoral roll despite having the information since 2002.

Speaking at a press conference called by the electoral reform movement, independent polls analyst Ong Kian Ming said the EC was given this information for all states in the peninsula and also Kuala Lumpur in 2002 and the figure made up 37 per cent of the 8.3 million voters registered then.

The project director for the Malaysian Electoral Roll Analysis Project (MERAP) said he has had the information given by the National Registration Department (NRD) to the EC before the implementation of the new registration system where all voters have to be registered according to the constituency indicated by their IC addresses.

“The EC has failed to act on this... to clean up the electoral roll even though the presence of these non-resident voters contravenes Article 119 1(b) of the Federal Constitution which says a voter must be a resident in the constituency he is voting in,” he said.

Bersih steering committee member Maria Chin Abdullah also said this “shows serious problems in the electoral roll which is the role of the EC to correct.”

“They say they are cleaning it up, so why are these findings still emerging? The EC team should resign en bloc and let a new team step in to clean up the roll,” she added.

Ong (picture) also said his research found 65,455 “foreigners” in the electoral roll, almost 90 per cent of whom had IC numbers which showed they were Malaysian-born.

Another 106,743 voters were deleted and 6,762 added to the electoral roll without public display between the end of 2010 to the third quarter of 2011, he added.

The UCSI lecturer also said the supplementary roll for the last quarter of 2011 did not contain the usual information about the number of voters added or subtracted due to death or enrolment in security forces.

He said that given the average of 20,000 deaths and the third Q3 2011 roll showing an unusual spike in police and armed forces enrolment to 9,000, this could add another 30,000 to 50,000 dubious names.

“Including the 100,000 identified by MERAP previously, there are at least 3.4 million cases or about 27 per cent of the current electoral roll which needs to be further investigated,” he said.

EC chairman Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof had said last week Malaysia’s electoral roll was the cleanest in the world, as only 42,000 out of 12.6 million voters, or 0.3 per cent, were considered unverifiable.

But Ong said Abdul Aziz should have checked the 100,000 already identified by MERAP as having ages above 85 years old, gender inconsistent with their ICs, same names and similar birthdates, born overseas, Klang Valley voters who do not have house addresses, postal voters with regular ICs, spouses of policemen who are postal voters, spouses of army and police voters who have the same gender, army and police voters above retirement age and army and police postal voters who are above recruitment age.

The credibility of the electoral roll has been widely questioned since a Parliamentary Select Committee was set up late last year to look into electoral improvements.

The panel completed its six-month tenure and submitted its findings to Parliament last week but the opposition and civil society have criticised it for lacking specific recommendations on how to clean up the voter registrar.

Bersih, a coalition of 84 NGOs, then announced it would hold a third rally for free and fair elections on April 28.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak had announced the formation of the bipartisan polls committee in August 2011, after being condemned in the international press for his administration’s clampdown on Bersih’s July 9 rally which drew tens of thousands to the streets of the capital.