Voters changing addresses: EC wants Warisan to make formal complaint

Rohiman-RahiaKOTA KINABALU: A top Election Commission official has urged Parti Warisan Sabah (Warisan) to make an official objection to what the opposition party has labelled as 5,000 “dubious voters” in the state.

Warisan, in a statement on Monday, had claimed they had found that 5,000 voters had been moved from their constituencies.

It said this discovery was made after scrutinising the 2017 fourth-quarter Supplementary Electoral Roll (RDPT ST4/2017), which was on display for two weeks until Jan 31.

Warisan secretary-general Loretto Padua Jr said the party’s Data Unit found several issues that made the validity of the RDPT ST4 questionable as the roll displayed an alarming number of applications from voters changing their addresses.

“We’d like to call on people, including Warisan, to come forward and file an objection to anything they are not satisfied with,” Rohiman Rahia, director of EC’s Sabah office told FMT.

“We just finished our roadshow at all district offices to display the RDPT ST4/2017 to members of the public last week.

“They can fill an application form and list the names of the voters they are objecting to.

“We will investigate by calling up both the person objecting and voters and what they are objecting about.”

Padua had said it was difficult to trace the voters’ new locations before the RDPT is gazetted by the EC.

“The parliamentary constituency of Sepanggar has a record of 932 voters changing their addresses, followed by Putatan (651), Kota Kinabalu (429) and Kalabakan (426),” he said.

“What is certain, however, is that we have found 30,000 voters have been transferred since 2014, all across Sabah.”

He said this was something of great concern because some of them could be “dubious” voters.

Padua noted that during the 2013 general election, a monitoring team, comprising several NGOs, had reported cases of voters opting not to cast their ballots at all after discovering their polling centre had been moved quite a distance away.

“If the same scenario occurs in the upcoming general election, the voter turnout will be low and this will be an advantage to Barisan Nasional.”

On another matter, Rohiman said the EC had performed all the due processes related to the 13 additional Sabah state constituencies.

“We have submitted all the relevant paperwork to our headquarters,” said Rohiman.

“All that’s pending is the approval of the 13 new state seats by Parliament.”

An amendment to Article 14 Clause (2) of the state constitution had increased the number of Sabah assembly seats from 60 to 73 members.

Last year, EC chairman Mohd Hashim Abdullah had also said that parliamentary approval was all that remained for the proposed electoral boundary redelineation to take effect in Sabah.

Opposition parties had asserted that an election without the 13 new Sabah seats would be invalid and unconstitutional.

However, Sabah Deputy Chief Minister Yahya Hussin dismissed this contention.

“The seats would be gazetted sooner or later. If not this year, then maybe later.

“The question whether the seats would be endorsed in time for the election should not arise.”

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