Friday, October 12, 2012

Gov't agency registering foreign-born as voters

Gov't agency registering foreign-born as voters
  • Aidila Razak
  • 5:37PM Oct 11, 2012
 
A government agency other than the Election Commission is registering voters who are not Malaysian-born and with incomplete addresses, researchers have found.

Malaysian Electoral Roll Analysis Project (MERAP) head researcher Ong Kian Ming said an analysis of the third quarter 2011 electoral roll showed this trend in the Gombak, Ampang, Kelana Jaya and Serdang parliamentary constituencies.

NONE"We suspect that the government agency doing this is the Special Affairs Department (Jasa).

"It is registering voters with addresses that don't have house numbers, streets names, etc," Ong (right) said at a briefing in the Parliament building today.

He said all of those registered under Code J - which denotes that registration was done by a government agency other than the EC - have identity cards with the middle code '71', which indicates that they are born outside Malaysia.

"It is very suspicious and raises concern that the National Registration Department may be issuing foreigners citizenship, and that Project IC (in Sabah) is replicated in Selangor," he said.

Ong also claimed that when the EC was asked at a briefing why it allowed those with incomplete addresses onto the roll, an officer replied that the commission was "instructed from above not to ask too many questions" about this.

EC won't meet Ong after he joined DAP

The political scientist, who recently joined the DAP, added that such issues have been raised in briefings with the EC before.

"A detailed presentation to the EC was given on most of the problems, in a briefing organised by the National Professors Council," he said at a briefing for media and parliamentarians at the Parliament building today.

Speaking at the event hosted by NGO for clean and fair elections Bersih, he added that the EC had then proposed a dialogue on the matter.

"We presented them a report on postal voter problems on Aug 1 and they were supposed to get back to me after Hari Raya Holidays," he said.

However, Ong had then announced his membership to the DAP, upon which he received a letter from the EC saying they cannot meet him any longer as he is a "political leader".

The letter dated Aug 27, he claimed, read: "Since you have become a leader of a political party holding a position, the EC can no longer meet you as an individual.

"The decision has been made by the EC and has been the policy of the EC. The engagement (meet face to face) with the EC has to come from the political parties. This is to ensure fairness to all political parties," the letter, read out by Ong, read.

Ong said this was a "defensive" stance taken by the EC when they should be working with stakeholders to fix the problems.

Suggestions

He said that after doing the study, Merap is making the following recommendations:
  • Strengthen legislation so that those who manipulate the electoral roll, including those who change addresses on identity cards in order to change constituencies, will face jail or fine or both;
  • Thorough review of the process of issuing new identity cards and the changing of identity card numbers by the NRD;
  • Establishment of an investigation team by the EC, which includes political parties, police and civil society, to probe possible manipulation of the roll;
  • Establish a parliamentary select committee specifically on the electoral roll, as recommended by the PSC on electoral reform, to play an oversight role;
  • Allowing objections to quarterly electoral roll updates as well as the already gazetted roll;
  • Raise limit of number of objections which a person can make and abolish fee for each objection;
  • Publish and make available complete quarterly updates and gazetted electoral roll to political parties and civil society stakeholders;
  • Strengthening capacity within EC, political parties and civil society to detect problems with the roll.
The report can be downloaded in full here.

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