PETALING JAYA: The Election Commission’s (EC) admission that it had destroyed electoral rolls used in previous redelineation exercises will come back to haunt the agency in its legal battles on the issue, says DAP’s Ong Kian Ming.
Referring to one of the grounds stated by the Selangor government in its judicial review against the EC, that is, “Election Commission’s Use of a Defective Electoral Roll With Missing Addresses of Voters”, Ong said it allows for the ongoing redelineation exercise to be questioned.
“By admitting that it has destroyed records of voters from 1994 and 2003, including details containing the addresses of these voters, the EC may have opened the door for its ongoing redelineation exercise to be questioned.
“This can be considered use of a defective electoral roll to conduct the redelineation exercise,” the Serdang MP said, referring to one of the four grounds stated in the Selangor government’s judicial review application.
The other three grounds are “The EC’s Proposals are Unconstitutional as Tainted by Malapportionment and Gerrymandering”, “The Electoral Roll Complaint: Unconstitutionality arising from the EC’s failure to use the Current Electoral Rolls”, “Insufficient Particulars in the Proposed Recommendations Which Impaired Right To Make Meaningful Representations”.
On Thursday, during the proceedings in the Court of Appeal to set aside the High Court order for the EC to provide the Selangor government information on 136,272 registered voters, government lawyer Amarjeet Singh said the 1993 and 2004 electoral rolls information is not there by operation of law.
He added that last year’s information would have been incorporated in this year’s electoral roll.
The Court of Appeal ruled in favour of the EC but the Selangor government can still appeal its judgment at the Federal Court.
Ong said the ruling did not deter the state government, saying even if the eventual Federal Court ruling goes against them, the judicial review filed by the Selangor government against the EC will still have to be heard at the High Court as proceedings were postponed while waiting for the Court of Appeal decision.
In December last year, the High Court granted leave to the Selangor state government for its judicial review challenging the constitutionality of the ongoing redelineation exercise, which started on Sept 15, 2016.
Ong said the problem with the electoral rolls is that prior to 2002, voters did not need to register according to their IC address.
“Which is why there is a large number of voters without complete addresses even in developed states like Selangor and Kuala Lumpur.
“In the past, when the Barisan Nasional was dominant and there was little scrutiny of the electoral roll, the EC allowed politicians (mostly from the BN) to register voters en masse with little regard to knowing exactly where these voters were living at,” he said.
“In reality, the dirty little secret which the EC already knows but does not want to admit to is that our electoral roll is seriously flawed.”