The Election Commission once again claim that they had removed the remaining 42k of dubious voters from the electoral rolls-which they regularly claim before an election is due. Can they be trusted this time? The voters rolls really need a thorough auditing before it can really be claimed to be trouble free. Many ways need to be tried eg there are many ways a same person may spell his/her name correctly eg Bt, Binti; or bin, b. Why not standardise them? Can this be done? If the idea floated to use the NRD’s database for voter registration is adopted there will be another layer of confirmation. So why the EC refused to adopt these methods which can strengthen its claim of a clean voters roll?
EC: Dubious voters were from pre-2002
Published on February 1st, 2012
PETALING JAYA: Prior to having an online database in 2002, anyone could register as a voter without providing supporting documents, said the Election Commission.
Its deputy chairman Wan Ahmad Wan Omar said this could be the reason why there were over 42,000 dubious names on the electoral list.
“And we had no online system to verify the registered names with the National Registration Department (NRD),” said Wan Ahmad.
Yesterday, EC chairman Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof announced the removal of 42,025 dubious names from the electoral roll after checking the data with the NRD for the past three months.
The EC had displayed the names for public verification since Oct 27 last year and even extended the dateline from last Dec 31 to Jan 31.
Of the 42,025 names, the EC said it could only authenticate 26 of them, while the rest are to be deleted from roll.
On how the 42,000 over names were registered in the first place, Wan Ahmad said he was in the dark as well but offered a theory.
“Prior to 2002, one can represent a family member to register and even friends can register for one another without providing identification cards for verification,” said Wan Ahmad.
However, Wan Ahmad dismissed any notion that the dubious voters had cast their votes in the previous polls.
“Voters need to produce their MyKad prior to voting. Surely, if there had been discrepancies in the details, they would not have been allowed to vote by our officers,” said Wan Ahmad.
Asked whether there were other dubious names in the electoral roll, Wan Ahmad said the 42,000 over names were the only ones that could not be verified by the NRD.
“We checked the entire 12.4 million registered voters’ list and only the 42,000 names were found to be questionable,” said Wan Ahmad.
EC should have been proactice
With the new electoral roll, Wan Ahmad said he hoped that the public would be satisfied with the EC’s clean up process, saying they have followed all procedures by the book.
“And we are working hard to ensure that the electoral roll used for the next general election would be the cleanest,” he said.
Bersih steering committee member Maria Chin Abdullah , however, criticised the EC for taking 10 years to clean up the electoral roll despite being aware of problem.
She added that with the advent of the online system, the EC could have cleaned up its list in no time after synchronising its list with the NRD.
“They should have rectified it when they first discovered it. For the EC to have allowed dubious names to be in the electoral roll is partly why there are so many irregularities now,” said Maria.
Maria said the EC should have been pro-active in its approach and not clean up its electoral roll only after a public uproar.
“If we hadn’t complained, the EC would not have done anything. They should stop this publicity stunt and get down to some real work.
“Show us a list that is absolutely clean. It is not our job to complain, it is their job to clean up the roll,” she said.
Tindak Malaysia, a group that advocates voter rights, said the EC should first decide whether they were working in the interest of the rakyat.
Its representative, PY Wong said even the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) set up to clean up the election process had identified many flaws in the system.
“And mind you, it is the EC’s task to clean up its electoral roll. With Wan Ahmad’s statement, should we be worried? I definitely am,” said Wong.
He also said that if the EC was having problems in cleaning up its electoral roll, it should seek help from other government departments or even non-governmental organisations (NGO).
“Nobody really knows how the EC is handling its electoral list. It’s shrouded in secrecy and no one can make objections without undergoing tough bureacratic hurdles,” he said.
On whether he believed the 42,000 over names were the only dubious ones in the list, Wong said it was hard to say as the public has no access to the NRD and EC’s database.
“PAS had previously claimed there were about 100,000 dubious names in the electoral roll. No one really knows,” he said.
PSC welcomes clean up
Meanwhile, chairman of the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) on electoral refrom, Maximus Ongkili, welcomed the EC’s announcement.
He said that the PSC endorses the move to clean-up the electoral roll.
“This is part of the cleaning process of the electoral (roll) undertaken by the EC and is endorsed by the PSC,” said the Kota Marudu MP in a statement to FMT.
Cleaning-up the electoral roll was one of the the eight recommendations made by the commitee in its prelimenary report tabled in parliament last November.
It also recommended that Mimos Bhd, a strategic agency under the purview of the Science, Technology and Innovation Ministry (Mosti) oversee verification on several hotly contested issues such as two voters with same identification cards, many voters registered under the same address and deceased voters who are still on the electoral roll, among others.
FMT learnt that there has yet to be any developments regarding Mimos’s role in cleaning up the roll. This contradicted with PSC’s announcement in early December that the agency “could already work on verifying the electoral roll” by the end of 2011.
When asked to verify this, Ongkili said that Mimos’ work was on-going with the NRD and the EC but did not elaborate further.
He added that updates on Mimos along with other matters relating to electoral reform will be discussed during PSC’s meeting on Feb 9.