Speech by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, Secretary-General and MP for Tanjung, Lim Kit Siang, at a Penang DAP ‘Towards Tanjung 2’ dinner held on Sunday, April 22, 1990 at 8 p.m.
Call for an independent inquiry to ascertain why Trengganu, Kelantan, Selangor, Pahang and Perlis had abnormal increase of new voters while Sarawak, Penang and Sabah had so few new voters
For the first time in Malaysian history, the independence of the Election Committee has come under grave public doubt.
This was because the DAP has proved in last month’s Parliamentary meeting with documentary evidence that it was the UMNO Baru Supreme Council which directed the snap 27-day voters’ registration exercise from March 1 to 27.
We also produced a circular issued by the UMNO Secretary-General who is also the Information Minister, Datuk Mohamed Rahmat, dated one day after the UMNO Supreme Council meeting of Sept. 14 last year, directing all UMNO Baru Divisions to send nominations of UMNO Baru cadres to the Deputy Prime Minister, Ghafar Baba, for appointment as assistant registration officers by the Elections Commission for the 27-day snap voters’ registration campaign.
UMNO Baru wants to register 300,000 new voters
The purpose of UMNO Baru was to register about 300,000 party members and supporters in the snap voter’s registration campaign, while eligible voters who had or yet registered in Opposition strongholds were discouraged from registration through devices like unmanned registration centers. Even those below 21 years and not yet eligible for registration were registered.
Special facilities were given to register the 300,000 UMNO Baru members and supporters through the employment of staff of Kemas and other quasi-government bodies are registration officials.
The result of the 27-day snap voters’ registration exercise has reinforced doubts that there were hanky-panky in the voters’ registration exercise last month.
In five states, namely Trengganu, Kelantan, Selangor, Pahang and Perlis, there was an abnormal increase of new voters in the three weeks of voters’ registration. On the other hand, three states, Penang, Sarawak and Sabah, had the lowest increase of new voters, at far below the national average.
During the 27-day snap voters’ registration campaign, a total of 437,279 new voters were registered. This represents a 5.7 per cent increase of the total electorate of 7,676,221 voters in the 1989 Electoral Roll.
The 27-day snap voters’ registration campaign was unusual in two senses:
Firstly, the number of new voters who registered in the 27-day period well exceeded the expectations of the Election Commission. Thus, when the election Commission Chairman, Tan Sri Abdul Kadir Talib, announced the launching of the snap voters’ registration exercise on 22nd February 1990, he said that the election commission hoped to register more than 350,000 eligible electors out of the estimated 450,000 eligible electors who had not registered.
Are there a lot of ‘phantom’ voters in last month’s voters’ registration?
However instead of 77.8 per cent rate of registration of the eligible electors by the Election Commission, there was a phenomenal 97.2 per cent registration of the eligible electors during the 27-day period. This must be most successful and record-breaking voters’ registration by the election Commission in Malaysian history, but probably at the international level as well.
However, the nagging question is whether the Election Commission could have registered 97.2 per cent of the eligible voters last month, when there are so many eligible voters who have no registered themselves. Are there a lot of ‘phantom voters’ especially in last month’s voters’ registration?
The Election Commission had expected an increase of 4.5 per cent of the total electorate of 7,676,221 voters on the 1989 Electoral Roll in the snap voters’ exercise, but the increase was actually 5.7 per cent.
Secondly, five states, namely Kelantan, Trengganu, Selangor, Pahang and Perlis had abnormal increase of new voters. Although the Election Commission expected an average increase of 4.5 per cent of the electorate in the 1989 Electoral Roll from the voters’ registration exercise, the national average was 5.7 per cent.
But these five states even exceeded this 5.7 per cent increase, with the following phenomenal increases:
Percentage of Increase of 1989 Electoral Roll
Based on the Election Commission’s original estimate of an average increase of 4.5 per cent, Trengganu had more than doubled this estimate while Kelantan is nearly double this estimate.
It cannot escape notice that both Kelantan and Trengganu are two states where UMNO Baru are afraid of losing state power in the next general elections, and the results of the snap voters’ registration campaign indicate that UMNO Baru has invested great efforts to shore up its political position in these two states through the voters’ registration campaign.
The increases in the new voters in Selangor, Pahang and Perlis, and even Kedah (with a 6.15 per cent increase) are abnormal, and call for an independent inquiry to ascertain whether there had been hanky-panky in the snap voters’ registration exercise last month.
Penang has the lowest percentage of increase of new voters in Peninsular Malaysia because of Barisan Nasional is afraid of Tanjung 2
Thirdly, the peculiar situation where Penang has the lowest percentage of increase of new voters in the Peninsular Malaysia. Penang registered a low increase of new voters of 3.7 per cent, and it is in the company of Sabah (3.8 per cent) and Sarawak (0.4 per cent).
Clearly, the reason why there is such a low percentage of increae of new voters in Penang is because Barisan Nasional is afraid of Tanjung 2 programme of DAP. Any increase of new voters in Penang would be detrimental to the interests of Barisan Nasional of new voters in Penang while in Kelantan and Trengganu, UMNO Baru adopted a reverse strategy.
As for Sabah and Sarawak, UMNO Baru has no real interests there.
The results of the voters’ registration campaign reinforce allegations that the UMNO Baru not only directed the Election Commission to conduct the snap 27-day voters’ registration campaign but actively influenced its conduct and outcome to suit its political purpose and strategy.
The following is the full table of the increase of new voters for each State during last month’s voters’ registration exercise, the total electorate in each state according to the 1989 electoral roll, and the percentage increase of voters in each state:
STATE New Voters Electoral Percentage
(March 90) Roll 1989 Increase
Selangor 65,363 878,478 7.4
Johore 55,163 935,970 5.9
Perak 53,500 1,008,858 5.3
Kelantan 42,424 520,254 8.15
Kedah 39,207 637,942 6.15
Trengganu 34,922 307,880 11.3
Pahang 31,956 434,474 7.35
Kuala Lumpur 26,628 516,315 5.15
Labuan 432 15,542 2.8
Negri Sembilan 24,259 331,607 7.3
Penang 20,627 552,327 3.7
Sabah 18,854 496,300 3.8
Malacca 14,622 258,434 5.7
Perlis 6,854 93,549 7.3
Sarawak 2,468 688,291 .4
——————– ———————- ——————
Total 437,279 7,676,221 5.7
——————– ———————- ——————
Total Electorate on the 1990 Electoral Roll: 8,113,500
Many serious questions are raised by the Table of figures above, and I call for a independent inquiry to ascertain why five States had such abnormal increase of new voters, and three states had so few new voters.
Last week, the Election Commission admitted that there were gross irregularities in the 1989 Electoral Roll, where there were 209,108 cases of different names with the same identity card numbers, while there were about 100,000 cases of same names with the same or altered identity card numbers.
Unless all these doubts and queries about the integrity of the Electoral Roll could be satisfactorily removed, the credibility and legitimacy of the Election Commission will suffer irreparable damage.