KUALA LUMPUR: On the average, only 205,751 Malaysians registered themselves in a year as voters, noted Kulai MP Teo Nie Ching in a statement. “At this pace, it’s going to take 20 years to register all unregistered voters.”
“There are currently 17.6 million Malaysians who are eligible to vote in Malaysia. However, only 13.4 million have registered themselves as voters while the remaining 4.2 million have not.”
In other words, she said, out of every four eligible Malaysians, one would not be able to vote if the 14th General Election was called tomorrow. “Voter registration should be handled with top priority.”
At the end of the day, what’s important is that every Malaysian has the right to decide their fate and future, said Teo. “Such rights should not be denied by complicating a simple process through bureaucratic processes and procedures.”
If the Election Commission (EC) cannot improve their efficiency in registering more voters, they must either implement automatic voter registration, or allow more representatives from the political parties to be appointed as Assistant Registrars, she added. “Before this, political parties from both sides had conducted various roadshows and campaigns using their resources at morning markets, night markets or shopping malls without any financial assistance from the EC.”
Until today, she pointed out, the EC has failed to give any solid and reasonable grounds on why they decided to drop all Assistant Registrars from political parties. “In 2011, there were 5720 Assistant Registrars from political parties. However, the number reduced to 4777 in 2012 and in 2013, we only had 1901 Assistant Registrars from political parties.”
She was commenting on Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Azalina Othman Said’s written parliamentary reply on March 30 that only 617,254 people registered as voters from 2013 to 2015.
According to the Election Commission 2009 Annual Report, a total of 279,490 new voters were registered in 2009. The number increased by three-fold to 820,156 in 2010. The voter registration exercise reached its peak in 2011, where 1,023,170 Malaysians were registered as new voters in that year alone.
However, the number of new voters dropped by 30 per cent in 2012. In 2013, only 195,193 new voters were registered.