Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Crimp in Perak voter-registration exercise

The Perak Election Commission (EC) has confirmed that all political parties in the state must obtain the permission of the local council before signing up new voters in public places.

NONEPSM national coordinator K Kunasekaran (left) had complained that the EC has forced it to get the permission of local councils before registering new voters in places like the pasar malam (night-markets).

When contacted, Perak EC deputy director Che Wan Muhammed Salleh Wan Adnan clarified that the rule applies to all political parties and not just to PSM.

He also said about 500,000 eligible voters in the state have yet to register with the EC, and called on political parties to assist in getting them to do so.

In an immediate response, Kunasekaran countered: “How can we help EC when it is putting new conditions and hurdles in the way of our recruitment of voters?

“There should be no necessity to get the approval of local councils during our visits to the pasar malam or public places, since (political parties) are only answerable to EC. (In January), we asked for 10,000 forms to recruit voters during Thaipusam, but the EC turned us down.”

In reply, Che Wan said EC is facing teething problems in the matter of giving out forms, but that it resolve this problem soon.

Change of address

Asked how the EC can arrest the 'migration' of voters into other areas to support a party, he said the EC falls back on the Mykad details to confirm the home address of voters.

However, there is a catch to this. Since February this year, anyone applying to change their home address only has to produce the old MyKad. Previously, the requirement was to show proof of change of address by producing a telephone or utility bills indicating the new address.

When contacted, a registration department official, who declined to be named, explained that the policy change was to simplify the process and to encourage people to update their particulars.

phantom votersThe Perak EC also wants voters to be its eyes and ears in reporting any presence of 'phantom' voters in the state.

Che Wan said the electoral list is periodically displayed for a week for verification of details. Should voters find any irregularities, they should inform the EC so that it can take action.

On frequent allegations of electoral fraud, he said an official complaint must be lodged with either the police or the EC before action can be taken.

Complainants must then substantiate the claim as and when the commission holds a public inquiry into the matter.

Fielding the allegation that many voters have been found to be registered at a single address, Che Wan said they could be former tenants who have not informed the EC that they had moved out.

courtesy of Malaysiakini

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