By Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjong, Lim Kit Siang, in Penang on Tuesday, October 11, 1994:
Call on the people to verify the new electoral list which will be put up for public display for two weeks from tomorrow to ferret out ‘phantom voters’ which had been registered during the 21-day voters’ registration exercise in July to give Barisan Nasional unfair advantage in the next general elections.
I call on all Malaysians to take the trouble to verify the new electoral list which will be put up for public display for two weeks from tomorrow to ferret out ‘phantom voters’ which had been registered during the 21-day voters’ registration exercise in July to give Barisan Nasional unfair advantage in the next general elections.
These “phantom voters” could either be in the form of new voters or in the form of change of address of previous voters.
A few days ago, UMNO National Vice President Datuk Najid Tun Razak claimed that UMNO had been very successful in registering 400,000 new UMNO voters in the July voters’ registration exercise.
This is itself an admission of UMNO plot to pad the electoral roll with UMNO voters – and nobody knows what percentage of the 400,000 new UMNO new voters who wee registered in July are ‘phantom voters’ – people who register in constituencies although they do not have the residential qualifications as they neither live nor work there.
Many people have found that there are voters registered in their addresses, although they had never heard of such persons and who had never lived in the same house with them.
This is how the Barisan Nasional won many seats in Sabah during the recent Sabah state general elections, and Malaysians must not allow UMNO and Barisan Nasional to import such electoral abuses as the Sabah ‘phantom voters’ tactics into Peninsular Malaysia.
The Election Commission should in fact guve access to all political parties all records about the registration of new voters so that a thorough verification process could be conducted to ensure that only bona fide voters are registered on the new electoral roll.
This is a very important issue which the Election Commission must take seriously, as having a clean and honest electoral register is one of the most basic tests as to whether a general elections is ‘free, fair and clean’.
All those who registered as voters in July should also verify the new electoral list to make sure that their registration had been accepted so that they could qualify as new voters.
There had been numerous complaints in the past Malaysians that although they had registered during the voters’ registration exercise, they found during general elections that their names had been omitted from the electoral register.
However, by the time of general elections, such complaints are already too late for nothing could be done to remedy them and those whose names are not on the electoral register cannot cast their vore.
This is the time, during the verification period, where those who had registered could rectify omissions if they check with the proposed new electoral roll and fine that their names had been omitted although they had registered as new voters in July.
To register a new voter, every Malaysian must comply with two steps which are equally important: Firstly, to register as a new voter during the voters’ registration exercise; and secondly, to check to ensure that their names had been properly entered on the electoral roll during the verification period.
If voters omitted the second step, they may find that they had not registered as a new voter after all.