January 30, 2013
Not Possible to have 100% Clean Electoral Roll, says EC Chief
by Hazlan Zakaria @www.malaysiakini.com
It is not possible for any country to ensure its electoral roll is 100 percent clean, the Election Commission (EC) says, for the list will be affected by daily occurrences of deaths as well as changes in addresses as people move about the country.
“If I clean today, tomorrow someone dies and it is not clean again…“How clean do you want it to be? What kind of detergent do we need to use?” EC chief Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof told a press conference in Putrajaya today.
He stressed that in spite of revelations to the Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) on immigrants in Sabah, the electoral roll for the state – and for the rest of the country – was as clean as these could be made.
“Believe us, the electoral roll is clean. As far as the EC is concerned, we only accept citizens with blue MyKad as voters.
“As for how they got the identity card, that’s (under the purview of) the National Registration Department (NRD),” he said, washing his hands clean of possible inaccuracies.
Before the names are entered into the roll, the EC carries out a “vigorous check” with the NRD to ensure that those being registered are citizens and are alive.
“If it is okay, only then we register,” Abdul Aziz explained after launching the commission’s dedicated 13th general election website.
He also appealed to members of the public to be proactive and check their details for discrepancies and update the EC with their latest details and addresses.
For this, he said, voters could SMS, email, phone in or go through the EC’s new dedicated GE13 website at www.pru13.gov.my.
No comment on Sabah RCI
Asked to comment on the ongoing RCI, Abdul Aziz refused to touch on the testimonies of the witnesses.
“I have been advised not to comment as the proceedings are still going on. Four EC officers are waiting to testify and they will answer any and all questions that the commission may ask,” he said.
The RCI hearing in Kota Kinabalu has to date featured damning testimonies on the awarding of citizenship to illegal immigrants and their subsequent registration as voters.
Asked why the Human Rights Commission (Suhakam) was not named as an election observer, Abdul Aziz said it was the EC’s prerogative to choose whoever it wanted, and he went on to say it was not because Suhakam had any ill feeling toward the commission.
“(Suhakam chief) Hasmy Agam (right) is my friend too.”
He added that thus far 16 NGOs have been appointed as local observers while five ASEAN countries and the grouping’s secretariat would be coming as international observers.
‘Malaysia, Australia poles apart’
The EC chief also dismissed Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s early announcement of election dates as inconsequential to Malaysian politics as both countries were poles apart and used differing electoral guidelines. “We have different laws, different systems and different conventions.”
Commenting further on the EC’s dedicated GE13 website, Abdul Aziz said it would be the one-stop portal for all things related to the coming general election, including news, turnout rates, enforcement updates, nomination statistics as well as other information and a live stream of all voting results.
He said the new site costs less then RM100,000 out of the total RM400 million budgeted for the commission’s GE13 budget. This budget is a whopping RM150 million more than the cost of GE12 in 2008.
Abdul Aziz attributed the inflated cost to inflation, ballooning staff and allowances as well as extra expenses for new types of voting, overseas voting and to handle and increasing number of voters, which will total 13.3 million as against the 10 million voters in 2008, after the latest registrants are gazetted in March