• The non-renewal of assistant registrars by the Election Commission has significantly reduced the number of new voter registrations since the 13th General Elections

    Media Statement by Dr. Ong Kian Ming, MP for Serdang, on the 2nd of February, 2014 in Kuala Lumpur

    The non-renewal of assistant registrars by the Election Commission has significantly reduced the number of new voter registrations since the 13th General Elections

    Starting in Quarter 4 of 2013, the assistant registrars in political parties appointed by the Election Commission to help register voters have not had their terms renewed. This has reduced the number of voter registration exercises which political parties can conduct. As a result, the number of newly registered voters as well as the nett increase in the number of voters after the 13th General Election has been significantly reduced.

    For example, in Quarter 1 2013, the total number of newly registered voters was 104,959. This was reduced to 49,789 in Quarter 2 2013 probably as a result of the election campaign activities. This number was reduced to 18,693 and 21,754 in Quarter 3 and 4 2013, respectively (Table 1 below). While part of the reason why new registrations may have fallen is because eligible voters do not see the need to register after the conclusion of the 13th General Election, it cannot be denied that the non-renewal of the assistant registrars in political parties has also reduced voter registration by the political parties.

    In addition, the net change in the number of voters being added to the electoral roll has also significantly decreased, from 104,222 in Q1 2013 to 47,671 in Q2 2013 and a mere 4,359 in Q3 2013. In Q4 2013, the overall number of voters in the electoral roll was actually reduced by 7,941 (See Table 1 below).

    Table 1: New Voters Registered, Change in Address, Deletion of Voters and Net Increase in Q1 to Q4 2013

    Category Q1 2013 Q2 2013 Q3 2013 Q4 2013
    New Registrations / Pendaftaran Baru 104,959 49,789 18,693 21,754
    Change in Address / Tukar Alamat 31,070 9,195 4,297 6,305
    Deletions / Pemotongan 31,807 11,313 14,555 36,000
    Net Increase / Tambahan Bersih 104,222 47,671 4,359 -7,941

    Source: Election Commission

    Even though the 13th General Election is completed, the responsibility of the Election Commission to register voters must still continue. The estimated number of unregistered voters is between 3.5 million to 4 million with the largest number in the state of Selangor – approximately 600,000 as of June 2012.[1] If the Election Commission cannot reduce the number of unregistered voters through its own voter registration activities, then it must allow political parties and other NGOs to conduct voter registration exercises through appointed Assistant Registrars. The Q3 and Q4 2013 voter registration numbers give strong evidence that more voter registration exercises need to be conducted in order to reduce the number of eligible but unregistered voters.

    For example, Selangor, with the highest number of unregistered voters, experienced nett decreases in the number of voters in the electoral roll in Q3 and Q4 2013. The number of voters in the electoral roll in Selangor decreased by 32 in Q3 2013 and by 1058 in Q4 2013 (Table 2 below).

    Table 2: New Voters Registered, Change in Address, Deletion of Voters and Net Increase in Selangor in Q1 to Q4 2013

    Category Q1 2013 Q2 2013 Q3 2013 Q4 2013
    New Registrations / Pendaftaran Baru 16,359 7,941 1,733 2,199
    Change in Address / Tukar Alamat 6,642 1,819 654 1,371
    Deletions / Pemotongan 4,792 1,403 1,787 4,628
    Nett Increase / Tambahan Bersih 18,209 8,357 -32 -1058

    To take another example, in N25 Kajang, the net increase in the number of new voters was 335 in Q1 2013 and 143 in Q2 2013 before dropping to 34 in Q3 2013. In Q4 2013, there was a net decrease of 39 voters in the Kajang electoral roll (Table 3 below).

    Table 3: New Voters Registered, Change in Address, Deletion of Voters and Net Increase in N25 Kajang in Q1 to Q4 2013

    Category Q1 2013 Q2 2013 Q3 2013 Q4 2013
    New Registrations / Pendaftaran Baru 283 161 55 30
    Change in Address / Tukar Alamat 122 25 13 10
    Deletions / Pemotongan 70 43 34 79
    Nett Increase / Tambahan Bersih 335 143 34 -39

    One cannot help but think that one of the underlying reasons why the Election Commission does not want to register more new voters, especially in states in Selangor, is because this would mean more reason to increase the number of seats in these states in the upcoming delimitation exercise – seats which are more likely to be won by the opposition.

    We call upon the Election Commission to demonstrate their commitment to register voters and to decrease the number of unregistered voters. We call upon the EC to restore the status of the current AROs of political parties and to allow political parties to appoint new AROs in order to reduce the number of unregistered voters in the country.

    Dr. Ong Kian Ming

    Member of Parliament for Serdang

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