The voter registration campaign through the monthly Sarawak Road Show almost came to a halt after July when it was found that less than 10% of its application forms submitted through PKR or SADIA was approved! Where have the forms gone and why the low approval rate where elsewhere the rejection rate is about 10%? Many visits to the EC offices in Putrajya and Kuching later-which spanned 4 months, the first batch of the voters are finally approved-numbering 285, out of 352 checked! This is the first time that the Road Show can claimed to have help register the 1st interior Sarawakian as a voter where they are usually shun by all parties for voter registration exercise due to the huge distances involved in traveling there. So what took so long for their registration?
Many factors are involved -may be an example may suffice to illustrate the problems:
Voters forms collected from field: March
Voters forms received by EC Kuching: July 29th
Voters form approved by EC: Dec 13th
Many parties are involved in causing the 9-month delays-which could have cost the interior voters their vote if an election were to be called within this period! Usually it only take at most 1-4 month to register as a voter with the EC. We call upon all parties involved to review their priorities to help process the voter forms promptly. The right to vote for all Malaysians -whether they stay in towns or interior areas, are guaranteed by the Federal Constitution!
We look forward to more voters being approved in the next days -from the `newly discovered’ batches of voters forms at the Kuching EC office. Without the pain-taking visit to the EC offices from Putrajaya to Kuching it cannot be ascertained how much longer these voters will be waiting to see their voting rights processed!
Sarawak Road Show started its monthly road show to Sarawak since September 2009 and involved self-funded volunteers who spend 1-2 weeks in Sarawak’s interior to do voter registration and voter education. Due to the lack of `things to show’ by way of actual registered voters the road shows hit a snag in the last 2 months in terms of getting volunteers to participate. However with these new registrations confirmed the Road Show can look forward to renewing its drive ahead of the state elections here. In Batu Sapi by-election the voters roll was updated to Oct 9th, less than 1 month ahead of the poll on Nov 4th. So the voters can, at the (usual) discretion of the Chief of EC, be registered up to the last month of a election. So don’t give up yet!