by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjung, Lim Kit Siang, in Petaling Jaya on Saturday, 24th March 1990:
DAP proposes a two-week extension of the voters’ registration exercise
The snap 27-day voters’ registration exercise ending in three days’ time on March 27 is the most unsatisfactory and scandalous in the history of voters’ registration exercises in Malaysia.
The Election Commission was clearly not fully prepared for the snap 27-day voters’ registration exercise, as illustrated by the fact that even at present, the DAP has not been able to get the 1989 Electoral Roll to help Malaysian citizens to check whether they have been deregistered and disenfranchised, and need to re-register as voters if they are not to lose their precious right to vote.
We have received widespread complaints of cancellation of their names from the new 1989 Electoral Roll although they had registered or even voted in previous general elections. The widespread incidence of such complaints raise the question whether there is a pattern and conspiracy to delete voters in Opposition strongholds to benefit Barisan Nasional candidate in the next general elections.
Many registration centres in the urban areas throughout the country are not properly manned, and there have been disturbing complaints of assistant registration officers who would only register voters of one particular race.
But most disturbing of all are the various UMNO Baru national and state circular to UMNO divisions over the past few months which made it very clear that the Election Commission is not independent, but must obey the dictates of UMNO Baru and the Barisan Nasional government. The explanations from the Prime Minister and other Ministers that these circular were issued by political parties and not the Election Commission have neither been convincing nor fully re-solved these doubts and queries.
What is indisputable is that the snap 27-day voters’ registration exercise has failed to provide adequate publicly and facility to every new eligible voter to register himself, or for those who had been registered previously to check whether their names had been deleted from the Electoral Roll and they need to re-register as voters.
I have today handed to the Election Commission Secretary, Haji Rashid Abdul Rahman a letter proposing that the voters’ registration exercise be extended by another two weeks as permitted by law to ensure that there is competent and efficient registration off eligible voters.
UMNO Baru may have succeeded in registering their target registration of 300,000 new voters in the snap 27-day voters registration exercise, but every eligible voter must be given the right and facility to register as a voter before the next general elections.