Is your name still on the electoral register?

The Leader of Parliamentary Opposition and Secretary-General of DAP Mr. Lim Kit Siang, today made the following statement (18.2.73):

Call on Malaysian voters to check at the nearest election office that their names are still on the electoral register

At previous general elections and by-elections, large numbers of voters who had voted before found that their names had been removed from the electoral rolls, losing the right to vote.

Voters must not allow this to happen to them again. At present, the electoral registers are open for inspection until March 14, and all voters should go to the nearest election office or other designated inspection centre to check that their names have not been put down for de-registration.

I have found that during the recent electoral register revision exercise conducted last September, it is proposed to cancel out 9,000 voters from my Bandar Melaka parliamentary constituency alone, which is 20 percent of the entire electorate.

The majority of these 9,000 voters whose voting rights are going to be removed are still in Bandar Melaka. In fact, many have not even changed their addresses. If these 9,000 voters know that it is proposed to de-register their name from the electoral register, and they object to it by March 14, they can get their names restored. But none of the 9,000 voters are aware that the Election Commission proposed to disenfranchise them. For the Elections Commission does not send them a notice that it is proposed to de-register them, although if it is to collect income tax, increase water rates, quit rent or assessment, the government will be very prompt in sending out such notice to the persons affected.

In this connection, I am surprised to read in today’s press the statement by the Election Commission Secretary, Encik Hassan Ibrahim, the assertion that there could be no mistake of the registration of new voters as the registration is being done by computers.

I do not think many people share the Encik Hassan Ibrahim’ s confidence and faith in the infallibility of computers, for computers can go wrong not only mechanically, but also through deliberate human programming.

In any event, I do not think that the computers go round the various constituencies to register or deregister voters.

Encik Hassan has also thrown doubt on my figure of 9,000 voters being proposed for disenfranchisement in Bandar Melaka done. I challenged Encik Hassan to prove that my figure is wrong.

In the previous revision exercise, 4,000 voters in Bandar Melaka were cancelled. Together with the proposed 9,000 new cancellations for this year, 13,000 voters in Malacca town would have lost the right to vote.

What is the position in other constituencies and towns?

The Prime Minister, Tun Abdul Razak, has assured the Dewan Rakyat more than once that the Election Commission is carrying out its work fairly and impartially.

I therefore urge the Elections Commission to discharge its constitutional duties with the objective of getting the maximum number of eligible voters on the electoral rolls to make the democratic process meaningful.

I must say however that up to now, the Elections Commission has been most unco-operative. I hope it will not be necessary for the Opposition to have to move a substantive motion of censure against the Election Commission in Parliament.

The Opposition parties are prepared to give all co-operation and assistance to the Election Commission to ensure that citizens are not wrongfully disenfranchised, and all that we ask is reciprocal co-operation from the Elections Commission.