Elections

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Is the Election Commission trying to reduce voter registration in the urban areas by not renewing the status of assistant registrars from the political parties?

Media Statement by Dr. Ong Kian Ming, MP for Serdang, on the 16th of January in Kuala Lumpur

Is the Election Commission trying to reduce voter registration in the urban areas by not renewing the status of assistant registrars from the political parties?

The DAP was informed by the Election Commission (EC), in a letter dated the 13th of November, that there would be no re-appointment of existing assistant registrars (AROs) or the appointment of new assistant registrars once their term expires. In the same letter, the EC asked DAP to encourage non-registered voters to register themselves as voters at the EC offices and also in the major post offices around the country.

This decision means that at the end of 2013, the DAP will have no more AROs in almost all states to assist in the process of voter registration. We understand that this decision affects all political parties and not just the DAP.

The reason given for this non-renewal by the EC is to enable them to coordinate and streamline the existing voter registration rules and processes. This is not an acceptable explanation since it would effectively stop political parties such as the DAP from carrying out voter registration activities and exercises at many of our events. In fact, past figures released by the EC shows that Pakatan Rakyat parties have a much better record at registering new voters compared to the BN.

For example, from January to June 2010, Pakatan parties registered 107,050 new voters while BN only registered 59,351 new voters in Peninsular Malaysia.[1]

The urban areas will be most affected by the EC’s decision since this is where a majority of the non-registered voters live. These are also the areas with the largest number of Pakatan supporters. 13 out of the 15 parliament seats with more than 100,000 voters are Pakatan seats in urban areas.

One cannot help but to speculate whether the EC’s decision is influenced by the upcoming delineation exercise. If the number of urban voters were to increase post GE13, especially in Pakatan areas with the help of Pakatan AROs registering new voters, there will be more pressure on the EC to increase the number of seats in these areas. By not renewing the status of these AROs, voter registration activities in these areas will be decreased, which takes some pressure off from the EC to increase the number of seats in these areas.

If the EC wants to stop irresponsible AROs to registering voters improperly e.g. without their knowledge or by bribing them to change their IC address, then it should ask the Attorney General (AG) to prosecute these AROs under Section 3(1)(a) of the Election Offences Act rather than to stop all AROs from their carrying out their legitimate activities.

Currently, 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.[2] The EC’s actions will only lead to this number increasing, not decreasing. We call upon the EC to restore the status of the current AROs of the political parties and to allow political parties to appoint new AROs in order to reduce the number of unregistered voters in the country.

Note: DAP has more than 100 AROs around the country whose status will not be renewed by the EC.

Dr. Ong Kian Ming
Member of Parliament for Serdang

Attachment: Letter from the Election Commission on the non-renewal of Assistant Registrars

Returning Officer and Auditor for DAP CEC Reelections

Media Statement by Dr. Ong Kian Ming, MP for Serdang and the Returning Officer for the DAP Special Congress 2013, on the 20th of September in Kuala Lumpur

As the Returning Officer for the DAP Special Congress 2013 to be held at the One World Hotel on Sunday, 29th of September, 2013, I am pleased to announce that PKF Accountants and Business Advisers[1] have been appointed as the auditors to act as Scrutineers at the Central Executive Committee (CEC) Re-elections which will take place during the Special Congress.

PKF comprises of a network of 300 member firms and correspondents in 440 locations in 125 countries providing accounting and business advisory services. PKF member firms have over 23,000 partners and staff generating an estimated annual turnover of $2.6 billion. The network is a member of the Forum of Firms – an organization dedicated to consistent and high quality standards of financial reporting and auditing practices worldwide.[2]

PKF has already reviewed and scrutinized the despatch of notices that were sent out to the delegates who are eligible to attend the CEC Re-elections.

PKF has already started and will continue to engage with the Returning Officer and his team on the procedures for ballot preparation, issuance, casting and counting. PKF will review the formulas used in the application of software to be used in the computation and tabulation of the votes. Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for each stage of the CEC Re-elections process will be given to PKF as reference material.

On the day of the CEC Re-elections, PKF will scrutinize the registration of delegates, the distribution of ballot papers, the casting of votes and the counting of votes. PKF will also check the final results of the CEC Re-elections before they are announced by the Returning Officer. PKF will provide a minimum of 5 personnel in attendance on the day of the CEC Re-elections to carry out their duties as Scrutineers.

In additional to the involvement of PKF as Scrutineers, the following procedures will be adopted in order to ensure the accuracy of the final results:

(i)                Testing of the spreadsheets that will be used for the CEC Re-elections

(ii)              The use of both manual as well as computer tabulation processes

A total of 2576 delegates are eligible to attend and vote during the CEC Re-elections. This is the same list of delegates that was used in the December 2012 CEC Elections in Penang.

A total of 68 names will be in the list of candidates for the CEC Re-elections. This is the same list of candidates that was used in the December 2012 CEC Elections in Penang. In this list of candidates, it will be noted that 5 individuals have withdrawn their candidacy. These five individuals – Choong Siew Onn, Er Teck Hwa, Jaya Balan A/L Valliappan, Teo Kok Seong and Yong Wui Wui (Violet) – were also announced as having withdrawn as candidates on the day of the CEC Elections on the 15th of December in Penang. One candidate – John A/L Fernandez – is also listed as having resigned from the party.

I have taken note of other candidates who have recently announced their withdrawal as candidates. They and other candidates are free to make these announcements through whatever channels they feel are suitable. However, their names will still appear on the list of candidates in the CEC Re-Elections on the 29th of September, 2013.

Dr. Ong Kian Ming

Returning Officer, DAP Special Congress 2013, CEC Re-elections

Utusan failed to point out that my views on foreign voters and electricity blackouts were only limited to my own constituency of Serdang and the constituency of Bentong respectively

Media Statement by Dr. Ong Kian Ming, MP for Serdang, in Kuala Lumpur on the 17th of September 2013

An article in today’s Utusan Malaysia with the title “Penipuan Pembangkang didedah”[1], quoted my words from a Free Malaysia Today article that was published on the 15th of September entitled “DAP man concurs Pemantau’s findings of no foreign voters, blackouts.”[2] In this Utusan article, I was quoted to have said,”Setakat yang saya tahu, tidak ada pengundi asing (warga Bangladesh) atau gangguan bekalan elektrik. Jadi saya bersetuju dengan pandangan mereka (Pemantau).” However, the same Utusan article failed to quote an important clarification in the Free Malaysia Today article which was that my comment on the foreign voters was limited only to my own parliamentary constituency of Serdang and that my comment on the blackouts was only limited to the parliamentary constituency of Bentong.

By not quoting this clarification, Utusan is deliberately misleading the reader into thinking that I am making this generalization of no foreign voters and no blackouts for the entire country. I cannot agree with this generalization as I do not have access to all the relevant information for all the constituencies in the country. I am waiting for the Bersih People’s Tribunal to hold its public hearings to see if there is any proof or information pertaining to foreign voters and electricity blackouts in other constituencies.

This is yet another example of irresponsible journalism on the part of Utusan Malaysia. It is no wonder that its circulation has been dropping, so much so that it now has to rely on Prime Minister Najib to market this sorry excuse for a newspaper to GLC advertisers.