Malaysia’s Election Commission is blatantly indulging in voter suppression! We need to face it as a truth. Voter suppression is a term used to describe how certain party is attempting to suppress certain section of voters with a view to favour certain party. It has been done in US where the blacks and Hispanics are viewed with suspicion by some parties and the rule to register as voters are made difficult-not unlike in Malaysia! The result from this is: Blacks and Hispanics who are more illiterate and stay far away from towns are underrepresented in the electoral rolls. The voting patterns shows that they vote Democrat more than Republican. Thus there is no prize to guess which party is behind the voter suppression. In response to massive voter registration campaigns by the Democrats(which help win Obama the Presidency) the Republican even introduce laws to challenge voters at the polling stations-to intimidate registered voters who are not knowledgeable about laws! See how far they go to suppress voters-though voting rights is a Constitutionally guaranteed right in the US as in Malaysia! Now the bulk of the unregistered voters in Malaysia are native/`bumiputras’ in the interior of Sarawak and Sabah. They are usually the BN’s fixed deposits. Currently close to half of these eligible voters are not registered! But if too many of them get the votes the BN who are used to buying their votes on the cheap (Rm50.00-Rm100.00/vote) will need to make bigger pay-out! Thus the motivation to deprive/suppress the votes from these communities. It is certainly racist as it involves mainly Dayak voters compared to other ethnicity. How do the EC justify their voter suppression-have a read below:
Yea to compulsory(ish) voter registration — Yow Hong Chieh
AUG 1 — The Election Commission (EC) opposes automatic voter registration for Malaysians who reach the age of 21, claiming the measure will impinge on a person’s right to privacy and freedom of choice.
EC chairman Tan Sri Aziz Yusof said in March: “In order to do automatic (registration), you are affecting their privacy. They will say, ‘I don’t want it. This is my right that I don’t want to be a voter. Why [do] you force me? That is not fair’.”
The same line was trotted out by his deputy Datuk Wan Ahmad Wan Omar at a couple of post-Bersih forums held last week.
That’s a pretty disingenuous argument.
For better or worse, Malaysians are a relatively pliant bunch when it comes to privacy. We don’t have the heated debates here over CCTV cameras or the personal information linked to prepaid cards like they do in Britain and the US. Why then claim a non-issue as a valid excuse?
As for the issue of choice, the government makes mandatory all kinds of other things that people are more likely to object to, such as EPF contributions, the identity card (less than half the world’s countries make this compulsory) and, yes, even taxes.
What of those who feel they can better manage the 10 per cent of wages that goes to the Employees’ Provident Fund (EPF) every month? Or that ICs infringe upon privacy and civil liberties? How about taxes not being put to good use?
Will the government bend over backwards to please detractors on the grounds that it is merely defending their right to choose? (Let me know because I’m not a big fan of taxes.)
It’s not like registered voters who don’t cast their ballot come polling day will incur any penalty. Malaysia does not enforce compulsory suffrage such as Australia, which is one of a dozen countries that fine eligible voters for not exercising this particular right.
A Malaysian disinterested in voting only has to do one thing — not show up, which is what many now do anyway.
If the EC and government are truly concerned about giving people a choice, we should adopt an opt-out system, which has greatly boosted organ donation consent rates in many European countries.
In an opt-out system, any Malaysian who comes of voting age will be automatically put on the electoral roll unless they state otherwise. The default is a yes instead of a no, but people will still have a choice.
Every Malaysian citizen has to renew their IC when they turn 21 and must fill out forms to do this. The EC could request that the National Registration Department (NRD) add to the form a check box that reads: “I understand that by renewing my IC, I will also be registering to vote. I do not wish to be a registered voter.”
Anyone who feels strongly enough about their right not to be registered can just tick a box on a form they already have to fill out. The cost of opting out would be no more than a single stroke of the pen.
And if the commission still feels that there’s too much compulsion in the opt-out system, it can always go for mandated choice instead. The question on the form would then be a yes-no construct: “Do you wish to register as a voter?”
Either way, the rate of voter registration will be pushed up way beyond what it is now at negligible cost while preserving freedom of choice.
Of course, it all depends on whether the EC views greater voter registration as a good thing.
The real question is why the commission is reluctant to help eligible voters sign up, given that one of its responsibilities under Article 113 of the Federal Constitution is to ensure qualified citizens are registered as electors.
So please stop using civil liberties as an excuse, EC. Do what you were set up to do. The choice is yours.