• Call for the EC to remove the 30-day requirement for Malaysians overseas to be eligible to be a postal voter and review the procedures of casting and sending the overseas postal ballots

    Media Statement by Anthony Loke, DAP National Organising Secretary-cum-MP for Rasah and Dr. Ong Kian Ming, DAP Election Strategist on 25 January 2013

    The Election Commission (EC) announced, on 21 January, 2013, the requirements and procedures for Malaysians overseas to apply for approval to cast a postal ballot in the upcoming 13th General Election.

    We are disappointed that it took the EC almost 14 months from the Parliamentary Select Committee’s Preliminary Report which was released on 1 December 2011 to implement this proposal. The EC now has approximately 2 months to register the many registered voters who are living and working overseas. This unnecessary delay means that many Malaysians will continue to be disenfranchised even after this announcement by the EC. During this time, there were no attempts by the EC, together with Wisma Putra, to encourage Malaysians overseas to register as ordinary voters at Malaysian high commissions and consulates. This means that the many tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of Malaysians living and working overseas who are not yet registered ordinary voters, are not eligible to apply to be a postal voter.

    In addition, we are extremely disappointed that the EC has introduced a requirement that Malaysian overseas have to have been back in Malaysia for a period of 30 days in the past 5 years before they are eligible to be a postal voter. The Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) on Electoral Reform agreed to the condition that a voter need to have been back in Malaysia at least once in the past 5 years without specifying the time period. This was in recognition of the fact that many Malaysians living and working overseas may return to Malaysia for holidays for only a one- or two- or three-week period. Furthermore, imposing this 30-day condition increases the processing time for the EC to approve applications for postal voting since the EC has to verify with the Immigration Department on whether the applicant has fulfilled the requirement. We find this 30-day requirement to be unreasonable, unfair and against the spirit of wanting to include as many overseas Malaysians as possible in exercising their constitutional right to vote. As such, we call on the EC to immediately remove this condition and allow Malaysians overseas who have come back to Malaysia once in the past 5 years, regardless of the length of stay, to be eligible to cast a postal vote.

    We also call on the EC to review the procedures of casting and sending the postal ballots. Firstly, instead of only setting aside one day for Malaysians overseas to go to the respective high commissions and consulates to collect and cast their ballot, we ask that the EC set aside 3 days for ballot collection and casting. This will allow overseas voters the option of going to the high commissions and consulates on different days to collect their ballot and to cast their vote. It will also decrease the likelihood of overcrowding in certain embassies which serve a large Malaysian overseas community such as London, New York and Canberra.

    Secondly, we ask the EC to allow polling agents from each of the political parties to be stationed at the high commissions and consulates in order to monitor the ballot collection, vote-casting and the use of the diplomatic dispatch to send the ballot papers back to the EC headquarters in Putrajaya and also for polling agents from each of the political parties to monitor the process of sending out these postal ballots from the EC headquarters in Putrajaya to the respective constituencies. Here, we are not asking for a polling agent from each candidate in the 222 parliamentary and 505 state constituencies to be represented. We are merely asking for one representative from each political party to be represented which should total up to less than 10 representatives in each embassy. This is to assure many overseas voters, almost all of whom are voting via postal ballot for the first time, that their vote will not be compromised and to assure the political parties that ballots cast at the high commissions and consulates are the ones which are eventually sent to the respective counting stations in Malaysia.

    Thirdly, we ask the EC to give their assurance that they will provide the names of all of the overseas postal voters to the respective candidates at the end of nomination day. This is to ensure that the candidates know exactly how many overseas postal voters have been approved by the EC to cast their votes in the respective constituencies and that no additional overseas postal voters will be added to the electoral roll after nomination day.

    Fourthly, since the process of printing and sending the ballot papers overseas, the casting of the votes at the respective high commissions, the sending of these ballot papers back to the EC headquarters in Putrajaya and the sending out of these ballot papers to the respective constituencies is likely to take more than 2 weeks, we ask that the EC have a minimum 21-day campaign period, which is consistent with one of the eight core demands of Bersih. In the past, overseas votes of absentee voters which includes Malaysian students overseas as well as civil servants stationed overseas were not counted because the ballots either reached them too late or could not be sent back to Malaysia in time to be counted. To avoid disenfranchising Malaysian voters overseas, we ask that the EC commits to a minimum 21-day campaign period.

    We have waited a long time for the EC to make clear the procedures to allow Malaysian voters overseas to cast a postal ballot. If the EC is sincere about making this process work for the benefit of these Malaysian voters, it should abolish the 30-day residency requirement in the past 5 years and it should review the process of casting and sending these postal ballots so that Malaysians overseas and political parties can have the peace of mind that the secrecy and security of these votes will not be compromised.

    Anthony Loke Siew Fook
    Dr. Ong Kian Ming

  • The EC should take action to prosecute irresponsible parties who are trying to manipulate the electoral roll

    Media statement by Dr. Ong Kian Ming in Kuala Lumpur on Monday, 12th November 2012

    While the Election Commission should be given some credit for taking certain steps to clean up the electoral roll, it has failed to take any concrete action against persons who have been trying to and are still trying to manipulate the electoral roll.

    In a productive meeting between myself, as Project Director and DAP Election Strategist, with the Election Commission on Monday, 5th of November 2012, the Election Commission highlighted a few steps which they have taken and are taking in order to clean up the electoral roll.

    One such initiative is to locate the 12 digit IC number of all police and army voters to check that these postal voters were also not registered using their 12 digit IC number. Although this verification process is long overdue, it should be welcomed as a necessary step in cleaning up the electoral roll. The decision of the EC to require all new army and police postal voter applicants, starting from 2012, to include their 12 digit IC number in their application forms, is also a positive step towards ensuring that these voters are not registered twice in the electoral roll, once using their army / policy identity card number and once using their 12 digit civilian identity card number.

    MERAP has identified many past cases of such double registrations as well as cases whereby an army / postal voter has given their 12 digit civilian IC to their spouses to be registered as postal voters as well as army / postal voters who list themselves as their own spouse in order to be registered as postal voters using their 12 digit civilian IC numbers. Having the 12 digit civilian IC verification, hopefully, will prevent such cases from happening again in the future. I was also informed that the Election Commission has taken action to locate the 12 digit civilian IC numbers of all existing army / police voters. As of 15th October 2012, there remains 411 police and 613 army postal voters whose 12 digit civilian IC numbers have not been located.

    However, what is disappointing is that the Election Commission refuses to take any independent action against those who have tried to manipulate the electoral roll other than removing certain Assistant Registrars. For example, the EC found 60 voters who had tried to register as army / police postal voters AND as regular voters in Quarter 2 2012. This is a clear violation of Section 3 (1) (a) of the Election Offences Act 1954 which states that a person who ‘knowingly makes any false statement on or in connection with any application to be placed on any register of electors’ is guilty of committing an election offence which carries a maximum jail sentence of 2 years or a maximum fine of RM5000 or both. These voters in question clearly knows that it is an offense to register twice, once as a postal voter and another time as a regular voter since every voter has to declare that they have not registered as a voter in another constituency in Borang A Pendaftaran Pemilih.

    The presence of irresponsible parties and individuals who may have tried to manipulate the electoral roll was also detected in the Quarter 4 2011 electoral roll given to the members of the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) on Electoral Reform. The analysis comparing the Date of Birth as well as the Date of Application for all voters found that 282,086 voters were registered before they turned 21. Indeed, there were voters whose Date of Application were before their Date of Birth!

    What is more worrying is the fact that the Election Commission knows of these attempts to manipulate the electoral roll. The Election Commission admitted that they have revoked the status a number of Assistant Registrars who tried to manipulate the electoral roll by, for example, registering voters who have already died. But this is not sufficient. It must take legal action against such parties / individuals in order to send a strong signal that the Election Commission is serious about maintaining the integrity of the electoral roll and to dissuade irresponsible parties and individuals from trying to manipulate the electoral roll.

    For example, the DAP in Negeri Sembilan took the initiative to lodge a police report in February 2012 to ask the Election Commission to investigate and charge the 2 Assistant Registrars whose status as ARs were revoked by the EC because they were found to have tried to register already deceased voters. But 9 months later, no action has been taken, either by the Election Commission, the police or the Attorney General’s Chambers.

    As long as such irresponsible actions conducted by irresponsible parties and individuals continue to go unpunished, attempts to manipulate the electoral roll will continue. If the Election Commission is indeed serious about preserving the integrity and accuracy of the electoral roll, it must not only revoke the status of irresponsible Assistant Registrars and delete the records of dubious registrations, it must also take concrete legal action to see those responsible for these manipulation attempts charged and punished under Section 3 of the Election Offences Act 1954.

    When asked, the Election Commission admitted that to date, no one has been charged under this Section of the Election Offences Act for attempting to manipulate the electoral roll.

    Dr. Ong Kian Ming, DAP Election Strategist

    This press statement was published by DAP Malaysia.

  • MERAP Final Report and Recommendations

    The full report can be downloaded here.

    The Malaysian Electoral Roll Analysis Project (MERAP) started in February 2012 with the following objectives: “to conducting a comprehensive analysis of all possible problems in the electoral roll across time and space; to highlight different areas of responsibility / jurisdiction of different government agencies pertaining to problems with the electoral roll; and to propose methods by which these problems in the electoral roll can be reduced / rectified”.

    With a team of four comprising MERAP Director, Dr. Ong Kian Ming, a lecturer and political analyst at UCSI University and three researchers discovered far more problems with the electoral roll than originally anticipated. In total, 25 types of problems were discovered in the electoral roll, 15 pertaining to non-postal voters and 10 pertaining to postal voters (See Appendix 1 for full list of problems).

    Some of the preliminary findings of MERAP were published on Malaysiakini (see Appendix 2 for links to these articles) and has been reported both in the mainstream as well as online press.

    MERAP is disappointed that the Election Commission has not been sincere in its offer to have a constructive engagement regarding the problems which the project team has discovered in the electoral roll. After a closed door presentation by MERAP to the Election Commission on the 5th of July, 2012, which was facilitated by the Majlis Professor Negara (MPN), the Election Commission chairman, Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof, extended an offer to Dr. Ong Kian Ming to have future closed door dialogue sessions where the EC would respond and clarify to other additional problems discovered in the electoral roll. MERAP then provided the EC with a 36 page report on problems pertaining to postal voters in the electoral roll on the 1st of August, 2012. The EC initially promised to meet with MERAP after the Hari Raya holidays at the end of August 2012. After Dr. Ong announced his decision to join the DAP on the 27th of August, 2012, the EC responded by saying ‘since you have become a leader of a political party holding a position, the EC can no longer meet you as an individual. The decision has been made by the EC and has been the policy of the EC. The engagement (meet eye to eye) with the EC has to come from the political party. This is to ensure fairness to all political parties’. MERAP finds this response totally unacceptable as Dr. Ong has not resigned from his position as an academic at UCSI nor has MERAP suddenly stopped being an academic study just because Dr. Ong has joined a political party.

    This is symptomatic of a larger pattern exhibited by the EC of being defensive when being criticized and wanting to dictate its own terms when working with other stakeholders who are interested in making the electoral process in Malaysia more fair and transparent.

    It is noteworthy that two out of the six recommendations made by the Parliamentary Select Committee on Electoral Reform which have not been implemented or in the process of being implemented – the setting up of a special task force to deal with voters who submit false information; and allowing NGOs and political parties to object to the gazetted electoral rollLabels – have to do with the accuracy of the electoral roll, which is the focus area of study for MERAP. (For the record, MERAP believes that there are more than six recommendations by the PSC which have not or are not in the process of being implemented, the most important being the cleaning up of the electoral roll). MERAP notes that there have been, to our knowledge, no reported cases of any individual for making false statements during the process of voter registration even though there is a provision in the Election Offences Act 1954 that makes this an offense.[1]

    MERAP makes the following EIGHT recommendations to strengthen the process of ensuring that the electoral roll is accurate and transparent:

    (i)            Strengthen legislation to make any attempt to manipulate the electoral roll by any person or party, including the paying voters to change their IC address for the purposes of changing voting constituency, illegal and punishable by imprisonment or fine or both
    (ii)          Thorough review of the process of issuing ICs and changing IC numbers undertaken by the National Registration Department / Jabatan Pendaftara Negara
    (iii)       Establishment of an investigation team by the EC which includes involvement of political parties, the police and civil society stakeholders to conduct on the ground investigations into possible manipulation of the electoral roll including problematic voter registrations[2]
    (iv)        Establish a Parliamentary Select Committee on the Electoral Roll as recommended by the PSC on Electoral Reform to have oversight over the EC’s efforts to clean up the roll and also to question and make accountable the National Registration Department
    (v)           Allowing political parties and civil society stakeholders to make objections to the quarterly electoral roll updates as well as the already gazetted electoral roll
    (vi)           Raising the limit on the number of objections which a person can make and abolishing the fee for each objection
    (vii)         Publish and make available complete quarterly updates and gazetted electoral roll to political parties and civil society stakeholders
    (viii)       Strengthening capacity within the EC and among the political parties and civil society stakeholders to detect potential problems in the electoral roll

    Needless to say, all of the recommendations require the cooperation of the EC as well as the related government agencies and ministers in order for them to be implemented. In terms of strengthening capacity to detect potential problems in the electoral roll, MERAP has prepared a preliminary ‘Do-It-Yourself’ kit where anyone with access to a personal computer and a spreadsheet program / software such as excel could analyze any electoral roll of any constituency in order to detect potential problems.

    MERAP may continue with further research and investigations into the electoral roll if it is successful in future funding applications. MERAP would like to encourage political parties and civil society stakeholders to continue to highlight problems pertaining to the electoral roll as these problems can be found in each quarterly electoral roll update. The final MERAP report, the DIY kit and MERAP related press articles and videos can be found at the following website: http://malaysianelectoralrollproject.blogspot.com/[3]

    Appendix 1: Full list of Problems Discovered in the Electoral Roll by MERAP
    Non-Postal Voter Problems
    1.       Voters who are above 85 years old
    2.       Voters with the same name and some with the same / similar date of birth
    3.       Voters with the same name and address
    4.       Voters who share the same old IC number
    5.       Voters whose old ICs were ‘transferred’ to another voter
    6.       Voters being given New New IC numbers
    7.       Mismatch in the Date of Birth
    8.       Mismatch in the gender indicated by the IC number and EC data
    9.       Kod 71 voters with only one name
    10.   Voters who do not have House Addresses / No Rumah, even though other newly registered voters in the same locality have House Addresses / No Rumah
    11.   Many Voters registered in one address
    12.   ‘Foreigners’ in the Electoral Roll
    13.   Unknown Additions to and Deletions from the Electoral Roll
    14.   Kod-J Government Agency registering suspicious voters
    15.   Voters whose IC address is different from their voting constituency

    Postal Voter Problems
    1.         Retaining both the status of ordinary and postal  voter
    2.         Marrying oneself
    3.         “Flipping” of postal voter IDs
    4.         Same voter begin added and deleted in the same quarterly update
    5.         Double registration of postal voters’ spouse
    6.         Flipping of IC
    7.         Police officers starting their careers around / above their retirement age
    8.         Spouse of army personnel being converted as army personnel above maximum recruitment age
    9.         Army recruit at above maximum recruitment age and gets transferred around
    10.      Spouse of Non GOF / PGA police force registered as postal voter

    Appendix 2: MERAP’s Preliminary Findings published in Malaysiakini

    1. 10 Major Problems in the EC’s electoral roll (April 7, 2012): http://malaysiakini.com/news/194373
    2. ‘Dubious’ voters may decide GE13 (April 8, 2012): http://malaysiakini.com/news/194435
    3. Electoral Roll: What else is the EC Hiding (April 24, 2012): http://malaysiakini.com/news/195823
    4. EC has not been honest in its rebuttals (May 7, 2012): http://malaysiakini.com/news/197145
    5. Non-resident voters: EC economizes with ‘truth’ (May 24, 2012):http://malaysiakini.com/news/198179
    6. Questionable foreign born voters in the electoral roll (June 2, 2012):http://malaysiakini.com/news/199721
    7. The strange case of recycled ICs in Sabah (June 14, 2012): http://malaysiakini.com/news/200815

    [1] Section 3(1)a of the Election Offences Act 1954 (Act 5) states that Any person who knowingly makes any false statement on or in connection with any application to be placed on any register of electors should be liable, on conviction, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years or to a fine not exceeding five thousand ringgit or to both such imprisonment and fine.
    [2] After all, legislation was introduced prior to the 2004 general election to establish an elections enforcement team comprising an EC officer, a police officer,  a local authority representative and representatives from political parties to monitor and control the activities of the candidates during the campaign period (Section 27 of the Election Offences Act 1954 (Act 5))
    [3] Dr. Ong Kian Ming would like to extend his sincerest thanks and gratitude to his research team especially lead researcher Lee Wee Tak for their excellent work in this project. He would also like to thank BERSIH 2.0’s organizing committee for allowing him to share MERAP’s findings at various BERSIH functions around the country.
  • The strange case of recycled ICs in Sabah

    Many of the problems uncovered thus far by the Malaysian Electoral Roll Analysis Project (Merap) are not directly attributable to the Election Commission (EC).

    The responsibility of issuing identity cards and ensuring that as far as possible the holders of these cards are Malaysian citizens who live in valid residences is under the jurisdiction of the National Registration Department (NRD).

    While it would be more reassuring if the EC were playing a more pro-active role by questioning the NRD regarding some of the problems identified, it would be unfair to blame the EC, for example, if NRD were giving out ICs to non-Malaysians, thereby allowing these people to registered as voters.

    In this article, I want to highlight a few major problems with the allocation of IC numbers by the NRD to voters in Sabah, a state where many cases of non-citizens being given ICs have been long documented under ‘Project IC’ or ‘Project M’ with the intention of wresting the state government back from Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) after it left the BN coalition just prior to the 1990 general elections.

    These examples are especially troubling because it shows active complicity by the NRD in changing IC numbers, transferring IC numbers from one person to another and allowing more than one person to ‘share’ the same IC number.

    My preliminary analysis, obtained by comparing voter details in the electoral roll used in Sabah in the 2008 general elections with the electoral roll updated to Quarter 3 (Q3) of 2011, revealed the following problems with regard to the IC numbers of voters in Sabah:

    1) The same voter being given a new IC number

    2) A voter’s old IC number being given to another voter

    3) Two voters sharing the same old IC number

    4) Voters with the same name and same date of birth registered in the same constituency

     Same voter given a new IC number

    As far as I know, there are no specified procedures for a civilian holding a civilian identity card to change his or her IC number.

    And yet, my preliminary investigation uncovered 63 cases in Sabah where the IC number of a voter in the 2008 electoral roll was subsequently changed. (These are the same voters because the data shows them having the same old IC number).

    And none of these cases involved a change in IC number because of these voters were allocated a number which did not match the voters’ gender – ICs ending with an even number for ‘females’ and those ending with an odd number for ‘males’.

    Some cases involved minor tweaks, including changing the date of birth by one digit, perhaps because of an earlier data input error.

    But there were also many cases where the date of birth of a voter was changed completely. The table below shows some examples.

    For example, Janggok bin Danau’s date of birth as indicated by his IC was changed from May 6, 1961 to Dec 31, 1951. Taib bin Ali’s date of birth was changed from Nov 30, 1970 to March 21, 1959. Ahmad bin Kalanayakan’s date of birth was changed from June 30, 1963 to Oct 9, 1949.

    NONE

    Even though the 2008 IC numbers for these voters are no longer on the electoral roll, this change in IC number is worrying because it could potentially be part of a much larger and systematic attempt to ‘mask’ the trail of giving out ICs to non-Malaysians as part of ‘Project IC’ in Sabah.

    And if this can be done in Sabah, it could easily be replicated in other parts of Malaysia.

    A voter’s old IC number given to another voter

    More worrying is the finding that the old IC numbers of some voters have been recycled and given to another voter.

    My preliminary investigation uncovered 35 of such cases in Sabah. In all of these cases, the old IC numbers have been ‘left out’ in the details provided by the EC website.

    For example, in 2008, Chui Vin Ming (male) with new IC number 390315125155 and old IC number H0269593, was a registered voter in Tawau. But according to the EC website, this old IC number now belongs to Misra binti Idris (new IC: 580614125662) who is also a registered voter in Tawau. (The most recent screenshots of the details of these two voters from the EC website is shown below).

    How can the IC number of one voter be given to another?

    In this particular case, how can it be that the old IC number of a Chinese male voter, who is born in 1939, is given to a female Malay voter, who is born in 1958?

    In addition, why is the old IC number of the Chinese voter, Chui Vin Ming, excluded from his details in the EC website?

    Screenshot of Chui Ving Ming (note that the old IC number is missing).

    NONE

    Screenshot showing Misra binti Idris having Chui Vin Ming’s old IC number.

    NONE

    In another case, the old IC number of Amiri bin Sakka (new IC: 661014125831, old IC: H0534679) who is registered in Kinabantangan was given to Hartini binti Daud (new IC: 690118126030) who is a registered in Tawau.

    Screenshot of Amiri bin Sakka (note that the old IC is missing).

    NONE

    Screenshot of Haritini Binti Daud having Amiri bin Sakka’s old IC number.

    NONE

    In case someone considers the possibility that these could be old IC numbers being given to spouses (if this is indeed legally permissible), included among these cases are those where old IC numbers have been given from one male voter to another male voter and from one female voter to another female voter.

    The table below shows the voter details of some of the cases uncovered.

    NONE

    These are cases where voters whose old ICs have been given to others, but still remains on the electoral roll. I also found cases of two voters who were deleted from the electoral roll after ‘giving away’ their old IC numbers.

    For example, I found a voter by the name of Badariah binti Zabdi (new IC number: 610911125540, old IC number H0509518) who was registered in Tawau in the 2008 GE electoral roll.

    In the Q3 2011 electoral roll, Badariah’s new IC number was changed to 620112125842, but her date of birth in the EC records remained that of her old IC number, which was Sept 11, 1961.

    (I was able to ‘detect’ this case because her date of birth in the EC records did not correspond with her IC number). However, according to latest check of the EC website, the IC number in question – 620112125842/H0509518 – now belongs to Norhayati binti Ismail, whose date of birth has been ‘updated’ to Jan 12, 1962.

    NONE

    Badariah binti Zabdi has now become Norhayati binti Ismail with a new IC number and date of birth. The only thing which unites them is the common old IC number. Badariah’s former new IC number – 610911125540 – no longer exists in the EC database.

    I also found another voter by the name of Zainal bin Sila (new IC: 59051560125447, old IC: H0664360) who was registered in Kimanis in the 2008 GE electoral roll.

    In the Q3 2011 electoral roll, Zainal’s new IC number was changed to 650422125431, but his date of birth in the EC records remained that of his old IC number which was May 15, 1959.

    However, according to the latest check of the EC website, the IC number in question (650422125431/H0664360) now belongs to a Wasimin bin Mosuling, whose date of birth has been ‘updated’ to April 22, 1965. Zainal bin Sila has now become Wasimin bin Mosuling with a new IC number and date of birth.

    Unless both of these voters are part of a witness protection programme, which requires them to change their IC and identity, the changes highlighted look very suspicious.

    Can old IC numbers be transferred from one voter to another? Are old IC numbers being ‘recycled’ and given to ‘new’ voters so as to make them less ‘suspicious’ on paper? These questions can only be answered by the NRD.

    Two voters sharing the same old IC number

    In my preliminary investigation, I also found 21 cases of two voters sharing the same old IC numbers.

    Screenshot of Tawasil bin Omar and Hasdar bin Salem sharing the same old IC number (H0563747).

    NONE

    For example, I found Tawasil bin Omar (new IC: 430306125675, old IC: H0563747), a voter in Sepanggar, sharing the same old IC number as Hasdar bin Salem (new IC: 600625125479, old IC: H0563747), a voter in Putatan (see screenshot above).

    Screenshot of Milah binti Abjah and Amin bin Sulaiman sharing the same old IC number: H0502359.

    NONE

    I also found another example of a male and female voter from different constituencies sharing the same old IC number – Milah binti Abjah (new IC: 680802126134, old IC: H0502359) who is registered in Sepanggar and Amin bin Sulaiman (new IC: 650101125801, old IC: H0502359) who is registered in Putatan.

    NONE

    A disturbing finding is that when these old IC numbers are keyed into the EC website, no entries are detected. Only when these old IC numbers are keyed in under the ‘Semak Isi Rumah’ function do the names belonging to these old IC numbers appear.

    Voters with the same name and same date of birth registered in the same constituency

    Here, I found three cases of voters who share the same name and same date of birth who are registered in the same constituency. While it is possible that people who are born in the same area on the same day may end up having the same name, the case of the two voters named Pentammah A/P Muthaloo stands out.

    These two voters have the same name but different IC numbers (new IC: 541209045018, old IC 8139940 and new IC: 541209025682, old IC: H083889).

    Both of them are born on the same day but in different states. One was born in Malacca (state code 04) and the other in Johor (02).

    But by a great stroke of luck/coincidence, both of them happen to end up in Sabah and registered not only in the same parliamentary constituency of Sepanggar but also in the same state constituency, Karambunai, and in the same polling district of Kurol Melangi and the same locality of Kurol Melangi.

    Screenshot of Pentammah A/P Muthaloo (same date of birth, same locality, same district).

    NONE

    Tip of the iceberg

    The cases identified in this preliminary analysis in Sabah are not isolated cases. More than half of the problematic cases identified (71 out of 130 or 55%) fall into the range of ‘dubious’ IC numbers highlighted in Dr Chong Eng Leong’s book ‘Lest We Forget’ – H288001 to H0384000 and H48001 to H0576000 (pg 21).

    One cannot help but suspect that these cases are part of a much larger set of inter-related problems which arose because of the improper distribution of ICs to non-citizens.

    The distribution of ICs to illegal immigrants in Sabah is not a new story. It is happening to this day as indicated by a recent news report that an NRD official was among the 19 people arrested forissuing fake MyKads.

    If the Royal Commission of Inquiry on Illegal Immigrants in Sabah is one that should be taken seriously, its terms of reference must include an investigation into the issue of ICs which were issued to non-citizens and the number of these non-citizens who found their way into the electoral roll.

    The cases identified here is but the tip of a much larger iceberg.


    ONG KIAN MING is the project director of the Malaysian Electoral Roll Analysis Project (Merap).

    This article was published by Malaysiakini.

  • Questionable foreign-born citizens in voters roll

    The Election Commission (EC) produced a booklet entitled ‘The Truth Behind the Accusations and Lies towards the Election Commission’ on its website. In this booklet, the EC tried to defend itself against 12 allegations made with regard to the electoral roll.

    I have written here and here to show that:

    1) The EC has not been consistent in its boundary ‘correction’ exercise.

    2) That the EC had deleted 14,577 names in Quarter 2, 2011 because the records of these voters were not active in the National Registration Department (NRD).

    3) That the EC should be greatly concerned by the fact that 56 out of the 57 voters registered in the past year in Kampung Melayu Majidee in Johor Bahru did not have house numbers or street names and were foreign-born, meaning the 7th and 8th digits in their IC number is ‘71′.

    In this article, I want to show that the EC cannot reassure us that there are no foreigners/non-citizens in the electoral roll because it is the NRD which issues the ICs and not the EC.

    Specifically, I want to focus on voters in Selangor without house numbers and street addresses which have been registered by government agencies since the 2008 general election.

    NONEWhat I have found thus far is very disturbing because it points to the presence of government agencies (not the EC) which have been actively registering foreign-born ‘citizens’ who do not have house numbers or street names even though they are located in urban constituencies in Selangor.

    And instead of investigating these cases or questioning the NRD and these government agencies, the EC has chosen to stay silent.

    The EC assigns a code number to each voter registration application so that it can keep track of these applications. These applications are divided into various categories with a specific letter assigned to each category.

    For example, applications which come through the post office electronically start with the letter ‘G’, those which come in through the police start with the letter ‘K’ and those which come in through the army start with the letter ‘Z’.

    Table 1 below lists the categories belonging to each letter.

    NONEThe code number assigned to each new voter registration application is not given to the political parties nor is it publicly displayed during the quarterly electoral roll updates. But this information is recorded by the EC.

    In this article, I want to focus on voters in Selangor without house numbers and street names whose applications start with the letter ‘J’, indicating that they have been registered by a government agency which is not the Election Commission.

    Informal reports from different sources have indicated that these government agencies include the Jabatan Hal Ehwal Khas (Jasa), a unit under the Ministry of Information and Jabatan Kemajuan Masyarakat (Kemas), a unit under the Ministry of Rural and Regional Development.

    The primary reason I chose to focus on applications beginning with the letter ‘J’ is because of the newly-registered voters in the Kampung Melayu Majidee locality in the Johor Bahru constituency, almost all whom do not have house numbers and street names and had application codes beginning with the letter ‘J’.

    I choose the state of Selangor because this is expected to be one of the key battleground states which the BN is desperately trying to win back and which Pakatan Rakyat is desperately trying to hold on to.

    My methodology was very simple. I managed to obtain a complete electoral roll for Selangor that was updated to Quarter 3 of 2011.

    This electoral roll included voter registration application codes for newly-registered voters from 2008 onwards. I filtered out all those applications with Kod 71 in their IC and then narrowed my search to those applications without house numbers and street names.

    NONEOut of 506 applications with Kod 71 and without house numbers and street names, 444 or 88% had application codes starting with the letter ‘J’. And almost 80% out of these 506 applications were concentrated in four parliamentary seats – Ampang, Gombak, Kelana Jaya and Serdang.

    The EC would of course try to explain this away by saying that they want to empower government agencies to increase voter registration rates across the country. The fact that many of these Kod 71 voters do not have house numbers or addresses is because they live in kampongs without house numbers or street names.

    These would not be valid explanations for similar reasons as the Kampung Melayu Majidee case. All of these voters are registered to vote in urban areas and all of them are registered to localities where almost everyone else has a house number and street name.

    For example, of the 967 voters registered in the Kampung Sri Gombak Indah locality in the Gombak parliamentary seat, 96% have house numbers and street names. Of those who do not have house numbers or street names, 80% have Kod 71 in their ICs, all of them have voter registration applications starting with the letter ‘J’ (Table 2 below).

    What is even more disturbing is that a large number of these applications were submitted at the same time – in March 2011- with the ‘nosiriborang’ numbers running sequentially, meaning that they were most probably registered by the same person from a government agency.

    NONE

    Among these applications, I also found voters with a single name, which raises the question of whether these are similar cases to‘Mismah’, who was alleged to have been recently granted citizenship so that she could be included in the electoral roll. (Table 3 below)

    NONE

    As an additional check, I examined the Quarter 4 (Q4) 2011 electoral roll update to see if there had been new registrations in the localities with a large number of Kod 71 ‘J’ applications without house numbers. My findings confirmed my initial suspicion.

    Of those voters in the Q4 2011 update without house numbers, all of them had Kod 71 IC numbers. A sample from Kg Sri Gombak Indah in P98 Gombak is reproduced in Table 4 below.

    Unfortunately, I was not able to obtain the registration application code for the Q4 2011 electoral roll update but I am fairly confident that application codes for these voters begin with the letter ‘J’.

    NONE

    Where does this leave us?

    Some might say that the small number of voters identified in this article is not a cause for concern given that it is but a small percentage of the 400,000 newly-registered voters in Selangor since the 2008 general elections. This would be a mistake for two reasons.

    Firstly, if the NRD can issue ICs to foreign-born ‘citizens’ without proper addresses in urban areas, could it also issue ICs to other individuals with proper house numbers and street names and state codes which do not show that they are not born overseas?

    After all, there have been many well-documented cases fitting this description in Sabah under ‘Project IC’ where non-citizens of Indonesian and Filipino descent were given ICs which indicated that they were born in Malaysia.

    Could there be a ‘Project IC’ happening right now in Selangor – to give ICs to the many non-citizens who are working in the Klang Valley so that they can vote?

    NONESecondly, if there is a concerted effort being carried out by a government agency (or agencies) to register foreign-born ‘citizens’ without proper IC addresses, could this government agency (or agencies) also register other individuals with proper house numbers and street names and state codes which do not show that they are born overseas?

    As of Q3 of 2011, new voter applications with the registration code ‘J’ numbered 42,540 in the state of Selangor, many of them in marginal constituencies.

    In other words, what I have discovered here are the more obvious cases, using rather strict criteria – no house addresses, code ‘J’ voter applications, Kod 71 in the IC numbers. There could easily be many other cases of non-citizens being given ICs with proper house address and non-71 state codes and they could easily register through other channels including political parties or by going to the post office.

    The cases which can be easily detected are probably the tip of the iceberg.

    The EC, instead of shifting the focus to harmless caricatures which appear during the campaign period, should instead do a proper audit of these cases and call out the NRD if it was found that many of the ICs were irregularly issued.

    Without these steps, we cannot have the assurance that our electoral roll is not being populated by non-citizens.


    ONG KIAN MING is a lecturer and political analyst at UCSI University. He is also the Project Director of the Malaysian Electoral Roll Analysis Project (Merap).

    This article was published by Malaysiakini.

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