by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjung, Lim Kit Siang, in Petaling Jaya on Friday, 2nd March 1990:
Election Commission cannot supply Opposition parties with the new 1989 Electoral Roll until well past the snap 27-day voters’ registration exercise
The DAP had wanted to buy the new 1989 Electoral Roll to help the people to check whether their names are still on the Electoral Roll, or had disappeared and need to re-register, but we have been told by the Election Commission that they cannot sell and supply us with the new 1989 Electoral Roll until well after the end of the 27-day snap voters’ registration exercise on 27th March 1990.
This would be of no use or help whatsoever as far as the current snap voters’ registration exercise is concerned.
This is another evidence that the Election Commission is only interested in the registration of the target group of 300,000 UMNO Baru members who had not registered as voters, and not interested whether others register at all.
The Election Commission has lost sight of its Constitutional duties to conduct a fair and free general elections, and there could be no fair and free general elections unless the fullest facilities are provided for every eligible voter to register themselves.
For this current snap 27-day voters’ registration exercise, the Election Commission has refused to give Opposition Parties registration forms to help the people to register as voters. Only UMNO Baru would be able to directly and actively take part in the voters’ registration exercise with UMNO Baru workers employed through Kemas and other quasi-government bodies as registration officials.
Now, the Opposition Parties cannot get the new 1989 Electoral Roll in time for the voters’ registration exercise, although we are prepared to pay for it. At present, the new 1989 Electoral Roll is not available for sale, on the ground that the Electoral Commission cannot quote a price for the various Electoral Rolls. Furthermore, we have been told that it would take at least two weeks between order and delivery of the Electoral Rolls – which will be after the end of the voters’ registration campaign.
Although the Election Commission cannot supply the Opposition Parties with the new 1989 Electoral Roll, there is no doubt that UMNO Baru has the new 1989 Electoral Roll. In fact, UMNO Baru Ministers knew before the Election Commission that there would be a snap 27-day voters’ registration exercise.
Another disturbing sign is that during the current snap voters’ registration exercise, there has been minimal publicity campaign by the Election Commission, as compared to previous exercises. It would appear that the Election Commission does not want to mount a publicity drive to reach a maximum number of eligible but unregistered voters about the voters’ registration exercise.
UMNO Baru had been quietly and actively registering the 300,000 UMNO Baru members for the past two months, even before the 27-day voters’ registration campaign merely an excuse to put the 300,000 UMNO Baru members on the Electoral Roll, in time for the next general elections?