See: Allow political party reps to register new voters

KUCHING: The Election Commission (EC) should reconsider its earlier decision and allow appointed and trained representatives from political parties to become assistant registration officers (ARO) to register new voters.

Batu Lintang assemblyman See Chee How said from the figures that were released by the EC, the most alarming and of grave concern to all was the fact that, as of Jan 1, this year, there were 13,468,946 registered voters in the country while 4,189,754 eligible voters in the country had yet to be registered and hence would be unable to cast their votes in the forthcoming election.

“It means that 31 per cent of Malaysians in the country are not registered voters and hence, are not eligible to vote,” See said in a press statement yesterday.

See, who is state PKR vice-chairman, said there were two serious setbacks for the country’s population of 31 million that claimed to practise parliamentary democracy.

“Firstly, only 37.5 per cent of the population, or 62.9 per cent, of all eligible voters voted in the last election in 2013 to decide the fate of this country.

“Secondly, one out of every three eligible voters is not a registered voter and hence, is not able to participate in the process of electing parliamentarians and state assembly persons.”

See stated that the situation was worse in Sarawak, as the EC figures revealed that there were 302,391 ‘Bumiputera Sarawak’ who were eligible but were not registered as voters to vote in the coming election, adding that it was estimated that there were a further 67,000 ethnic Malays and 100,000 ethnic Chinese who were above 21 years old but were not registered voters.

In the circumstances, he said almost half a million Sarawakians who were supposed to vote in the coming state election, believed to be held this April, would not be able to do so because they had not been registered as voters.

“This is serious and unacceptable. The number is more than 40 per cent of the total eligible and registered voters who can cast their votes in the coming election, and it also means that more than 30 per cent of Sarawakians who should be voting in the state election will not be able to do so.”

See, who is also state PKR election director said while the EC chairman Datuk Seri Mohd Hashim Abdullah expressed his concern that voters’ turnout in Sarawak state elections were relatively low since 1979, he should be even more concerned that the percentage of unregistered eligible voters had drastically increased over the last two years.

“The new EC chairman should initiate efforts to reform the constitutionally instituted independent commission which is entrusted to safeguard the country’s parliamentary democracy and to ensure that all eligible voters can take part in every election that are carried out in a clean and fair manner.”

He said while Mohd Hashim might take some time to lead the commission to execute and perform his roles and responsibilities that were sacrosanct and supposedly held in high esteem in any country that practised parliamentary democracy, he should reconsider and recommend to the Parliament to legislate and make legal provision for automatic registration of eligible voters.

“In the meantime, the much criticised decision of his predecessor to prohibit and disallow the appointment of EC-trained representatives from political parties to be ARO to register new voters should now be reconsidered and the decision reversed.”-Borneo Post

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