PETALING JAYA: The Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (Bersih) today expressed support for the National Registration Department’s (NRD) move to request for proof of domicile from Malaysians asking for a change in address for their identity cards (MyKad).
The electoral reform group said this move by NRD would resolve one of Bersih’s concerns about a large group of transplanted voters in the run-up to the last general election.
“These are people who changed their MyKad addresses and thereafter their voting constituency to a marginal one that the political party they support wanted to win,” said Bersih in a statement.
The NRD has announced that, effective May 2, 2019, Malaysians wanting to change their MyKad address would need to submit their utility bills, quit rent receipts or rental agreements as proof of domicile.
Bersih claimed it had found 5,000 to 10,000 voters transplanted into the Wangsa Maju constituency from the neighbouring Batu constituency in the polls last year. It noted similar instances across the country.
“Such a large number of change of address and registration of new voters in such a short period also raises suspicion of internal collusion involving the NRD, Election Commission staff and party operatives,” claimed the Bersih steering committee.
Bersih said with this new rule in place, the NRD has paved the way for automatic registration of voters, which leads to the question of whether to allow people to choose their area of voting.
The NGO then proposed the creation of a geocoded national address database, where every address in the country will have a unique identifier that pinpoints its location and classification of property.
“This would not only remove any ambiguities in the electoral roll but also flag dubious registration of too many voters at the same address or voters at non-residential addresses,” said Bersih.
Yesterday, EC chairman Azhar Harun said automatic voter registration will take time as it was not as simple as it sounded.
He said the Federal Constitution allows a person to vote where he or she was first registered as a voter although they might now live elsewhere.
“That is our constitutional right. If we do automatic registration, then that has to be changed because then you vote where your identity card says you live.”
This, he said, might see a greater concentration of seats in Kuala Lumpur and Selangor, an underlying issue that needs to be addressed.
He said EC would try to come up with a fair and equitable solution.
It was previously reported that most of the parties, from both sides of the political divide, had agreed to automatic voter registration following a closed-door meeting between the EC and more than 30 political parties on issues of voter registration.