Thursday, December 3, 2009

Half million unregistered to vote in Perak

By Clara Chooi
IPOH, Nov 28 — More than half a million eligible voters in Perak are not registered with the Election Commission, said Ipoh Barat MP M. Kulasegaran.

The DAP vice-chairman said today that the commission’s statistics showed that there were only 1.3 million names on their electoral roll and at least 512,000 eligible voters were not yet registered.

“And the numbers are growing every time,” he told a press conference after attending the launch of the DAP’s voter-registration campaign competition here this morning.

Kulasegaran blamed the present registration system for the poor number of registered voters, adding that as a result, election results predominantly did not reflect the actual choice of the people.

To change this, he said that an automatic registration system should be practiced, whereby voters who come of legal voting age would automatically be updated as a registered voter.

“Why not, since the National Registration Department has everyone’s MyKad details. The information is ready and available there in the system so there is no reason why automatic registration cannot be done,” he said.

Kulasegaran added that he had made such a suggestion in Parliament but the idea was shot down quickly.
“You know what I was told? I was told that it would not be fair to people to automatically register them as voters because it is an individual’s right to become a voter or not.

“This is silly because even though a person is a registered voter, he or she still has the right to choose whether to vote or not,” he said.

To tap into the pool of unregistered eligible voters in Perak, the DAP today launched a three-month voter registration campaign competition involving four state constituencies — Jelapang, Pasir Pinji, Jalong and Chederiang — and one parliamentary constituency — Ipoh Barat.

Pasir Pinji assemblyman Thomas Su said that the competition, launched by DAP supremo Lim Kit Siang, was a voter-registration race between all five constituencies and a target of at least 10,000 voters should be registered by the end of the competition in February next year.

“It should not bee too difficult. This means that each constituency should register at least 2,000 voters over the next three months,” he said, adding that the winner of the competition would win RM1,500..

Su said that the low number of registered voters in Perak was a thorn in the side of democracy as not everyone was getting a fair say in who should hold government.

He added that with DAP’s aggressive voter-registration techniques, more people should be given their due right to vote.

“Whether or not they want to vote is still a decision they can make. But at least they are registered,” he said.

Su said that by targetting to register new voters, there was a small likelihood also that those who registered as voters through the DAP might also give a vote to Pakatan Rakyat in the future.

“We are tapping especially into the youths because a lot of support for the PR comes from the youths,” he said.

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