Thursday, September 6, 2012

Denial of voter stats sparks fears of electoral fraud (The Malaysian Insider: June 25, 2012)

The Malaysian Insider

Jun 25, 2012

KUALA LUMPUR, June 25 — The government’s refusal to reveal the number of voters registered by political parties has raised further suspicion of fraud in the electoral roll, a claim which has seen tens of thousands take to the streets in two mass rallies over the past year.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz said, in a written reply to a parliamentary question by Petaling Jaya Utara MP Tony Pua, that the Election Commission (EC) “does not have statistics on newly registered voters by each party for each quarter since 2008."

But Pua told a press conference today that the reply given last week to his written question posed during the March sitting contradicted previous reports in 2010 and last year where the EC issued a breakdown of voters registered by parties.

“I am shocked by this answer which is a huge lie by the prime minister,” the DAP publicity chief said, referring to reports by Bernama and The Malaysian Insider as proof that “the detailed breakdown exists.”

He added that he had made repeated requests for the statistics from the respective state EC offices as well as the headquarters in Putrajaya and in Parliament.

“Why is the government now refusing? This strengthens doubts over the cleanliness of the electoral roll and suspicions that new voters or foreigners are being planted,” he said.

The Malaysian Insider had previously reported in September 2010 that the DAP had registered the most number of new voters followed by Umno, based on figures released by the EC in a press conference.

EC deputy chief Datuk Wan Ahmad Wan Omar had also broken down the number of new voters in Penang according to which party registered them in August last year.

A survey by Merdeka Center last month also showed that 92 per cent of voters in Peninsular Malaysia want the electoral roll cleaned before the general election that must be called within the year.

Pakatan Rakyat (PR) has claimed that at least 120,000 doubtful voters are on the roll while independent political consultant Ong Kian Ming has said his Malaysian Electoral Roll Analysis Project (MERAP) pointed to over 400,000 doubtful names, enough to decide 35 federal seats.

The two Bersih rallies on July 9, 2011 and April 28 this year drew tens of thousands to the streets of the capital, events which ended in clashes with the police who fired tear gas and water cannons to disperse the crowds.

Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s popularity had dipped immediately after both demonstrations for free and fair elections.

The July 9 protest resulted in the prime minister announcing a raft of liberal reforms including a parliamentary select committee on electoral improvements.

But Bersih proceeded to hold the April gathering after saying it was disappointed with the findings of the panel, accusing the government of not being serious about cleaning up the electoral system.