by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjung, Lim Kit Siang in Petaling Jaya on Wednesday, February 1, 1995:
DAP calls for the establishment of an All-Party Commission of Inquiry to review the honesty and cleanliness of the electoral roll as well as make recommendations for the holding of a free, fair and clean general elections
DAP calls on the Election Commission to give full particulars on the ‘extra’ 4,500 voters in Kelantan which has caused the Election Commission to further delay the gazetting of the new electoral roll.
Election Commission Chairman, Datuk Harun Din, had announced on Monday that the Election Commission had postponed gazetting the 1994 revised electoral rolls set for January 30 to February 9 after detecting irregularities involving an extra 4,500 voters’ names in Kelantan.
Datuk Harun Din’s explanation of the “irregularities”, which he said were discovered a few days ago, “involve an extra 4,500 voters who appear in the list of Kelantan State Election Commission and which are now on our list”. He attributed the difference in the tally of voters’ for Kelantan between the Election Commission and the Kelantan State Commission branch to “a slight misunderstanding”.
From Harun Din’s Monday statement, the impression created is that as a result of some oversight, the names of 4,500 voters who had registered in the last voters’ registration exercise had not been received by the Kelantan State Commission branch.
However, the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamed and the UMNO Secretary-General, Datuk Mohamad Rahmat had both given a completely different picture, after claiming that it was UMNO which had discovered the 4,500 ‘missing voters’ and informed the Election Commission.
From the statements of Dr. Mahathir and Mohamad Rahmat, it is clear that they are not referring to voters whose registration had not been sent up to the Election Commission although they had been received by the Kelantan State Commission, but the block and fraudulent deregistration of voters from the electoral roll – which are not the result of ‘misunderstanding’ but serious electoral offences.
When did UMNO discover these 4,500 ‘missing voters’ and informed the Election Commission? If it was only ‘a few days ago’, why didn’t UMNO discover these irregularities when the Election Commission displayed the proposed new electoral roll for public objection last year?
Mahathir said yesterday that the procedures governing the registration of voters needed to be reviewed to ensure fairness.
DAP agrees that there is a need for changes in the preparation of electoral rolls to produce a more satisfactory clean and honest electoral roll, and this had been one of the DAP demands over the years.
However, Mahathir is wrong when he said that under the present procedure, a person who intends to register as a voter must do so personally, but allows others to transfer the person’s name to other constituency. Under the present regulations, a person who wishes to transfer to another constituency as a voter must also do so personally.
The problem arises when there is fraudulent registration, which involves not only fraudulent transfer of voters to other constituencies without the knowledge of the voter concerned, but also fraudulent registration of ‘phantom’ voters – both of which must be treated as electoral frauds of the same gravity.
On Monday, Harun Din had retierated the Election Commission’s stand that there should be greater airtime allocated to political parties.
However, neither Mahathir nor the UMNO Secretary-General had given any positive response to this call by the Election Commission.
Clean and honest electoral roll is one of the preconditions for a free, fair and clean general elections. Other preconditions include fair and equal access to the mass media by the Opposition parties, whether printed or electronic media, during the election campaign.
For this reason, DAP calls for the establishment of an All-Party Commission of Inquiry to review the honesty and cleanliness of the electoral roll as well as make recommendations for the holding of a free, fair and clean general elections, such as ensuring that Opposition leaders and candidates are given equal time over television as Barisan Nasional leaders and candidates during the general elections campaign.