Friday, March 4, 2016

Let political party reps register voters, Sarawak lawmaker tells EC

The Election Commission (EC) has been urged to reconsider its decision not to allow EC-trained representatives from political parties as assistant registration officers (ARO) to sign up new voters. Sarawak PKR vice-chairman See Chee How said the AROs could assist the EC register the high number of people eligible to vote but yet to be registered. "From the figures that were released by EC, the most alarming and of grave concern to all is the fact that, as of 1 January 2016, there are 13,468,946 registered voters in the country while 4,189,754 eligible voters in the country have yet to be registered and hence are unable to cast their votes in the forthcoming elections," said See, who is the Batu Lintang assemblyman. "It means that 31% of Malaysians in the country are not registered voters and hence are not eligible to vote." He said only 37.5% of the population or 62.9% of all eligible voters voted in the last general election in 2013, while one out of every three eligible voters was not registered and as such not able to vote. See said the situation in Sarawak was worse as the EC figures show 302,391 Sarawak Bumiputeras were eligible to vote but were not registered. "It is estimated that there are a further 67,000 ethnic Malay and 100,000 ethnic Chinese who are Sarawakians, above 21 years old but are not registered voters." See said in such circumstances, almost half-a-million eligible voters in Sarawak would not be able to vote at the coming elections. "This is serious and unacceptable. Such a number is more than 40% of the total eligible and registered voters who can cast their votes in the coming election, and it also means that more than 30% of Sarawakians who should be voting in the state election will not be able to do so." See said while EC chairman Datuk Seri Mohd Hashim Abdullah was concerned that voter turnout in past Sarawak elections had been relatively low since 1979, "he should be even more concerned that the percentage of unregistered eligible voters has drastically increased over the last two years". He said Hashim should reconsider and recommend to Parliament to make legal provisions for automatic registration of eligible voters. But in the meantime, See said the decision to disallow AROs to register new voters, should be reversed. – March 4, 2016.]]>

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