Friday, August 26, 2011

Some shocked at finding themselves actual voters

Some shocked at finding themselves actual voters
Kuek Ser Kuang Keng
Aug 26, 11

Apart from various flaws in the electoral roll, the voter registration process is also found to be open to abuse, where Malaysians abroad have been registered as voters without their knowledge.

Malaysiakini received complaints from two of them who were shocked to discover their names in the electoral roll although they have never registered themselves.

The first complainant who only wanted to be known as Ooi checked his voting status with the Election Commission (EC) online verification system on Aug 2.

"Earlier this month I read on an online forum an article regarding illegal workers being registered as election voters within only a few days. They provided a link to check the voter's registration status.

"I have never registered myself but out of curiosity, I entered my MyKad number and I was shocked to see the result. It said 'permohonan yang sedang di proses' (application is being processed).

NONE"This is when I started to feel suspicious as I never ever registered myself as a voter before. The name, MyKad number and address are mine exactly," he told Malaysiakini through email.

Ooi immediately filed a complaint with the EC through email and received a reply a week later stating that his application to register as a voter was made on June 22, 2011, and it was being processed before gazetting into the master roll.

"I got the shock of my life when I got the reply after a few days," he said.

He then checked the EC online verification system again and found that his application had been approved.

"I was really shocked, it says I am now a registered voter: 'daftar pemilih yang telah disahkan' (verified electoral roll).

Dilemma facing the victims

"I am overseas now, and I left the country in February 2011 and did not return at all, and now I am still in Cambodia. How did I get myself registered on June 22 as the person had replied to me?" he asked, suspecting that someone had used his MyKad to register.

"How do I get help on this now if my MyKad is being used by others as a voter?" he said, adding that his family members have never registered for him.

Ooi also claimed that three of his Malaysian colleagues working overseas also encountered the same situation.

Malaysiakini was provided with the screen capture images of his status in the EC's portal as well as the email reply by the EC, and this reporter had verified his voting status with the EC's portal.

The second complaint was from Chin, a Malaysian working in Singapore since 1981.

"I was astonished to find my name in the active list of voters even though I have never registered and not voted for 30 years. Is this normal?" said Chin in his email to Malaysiakini.

Like Ooi, he had filed an inquiry with the EC last week but has yet to receive any reply.

On these complaints, an EC official who declined to be names explained to Malaysiakini that they may be caused by irresponsible assistant voter registration officers (AROs).

An ARO is an the EC appoints to register new voters as the commission is short of manpower.

Many of them are representatives from the political parties which are allowed to have two AROs in every state constituency. The ARO is paid RM1 by the EC for every valid voter registered.

"It might happen when some AROs, especially from political parties, registered the new voters without the knowledge of the persons by using their MyKad details.

"The EC appoints these AROs to expedite the registration process but some of them abuse the trust... The EC has made a stand to cancel their status as ARO if they are found to be involved in cases that have been raised," said the officer.

On Aug 22, the Selangor EC chief Dzulkifli Abdul Rahman issued a letter to all AROs in the state, requiring them to submit copies of applicants' MyKad along with voter registration forms.

In the letter, Dzulkifli said that "almost 50 percent" of registration submissions are rejected as the applicants are "dead, have addresses that do not match that in their identity cards, have registered before, and some are even permanent residents".

To fix this, any application form which does not come with a copy of the applicant's MyKad will be rejected outright.

According to the EC chairperson Abdul Aziz Yusof, the ruling only applies to Selangor as the problem is most severe in the state.

On this issue, electoral reform coalition Bersih 2.0 and the opposition have been urging the EC to implement automatic voter registration for all citizens above 21 years old to eliminate the various woes and weaknesses of the current system.

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