The Election Commission must restore Assistant Registrar Officers (AROs) of political parties to stop the decrease in the number of registered voters

Media Statement by Dr. Ong Kian Ming, MP for Serdang, on the 25th of August, 2015

The Election Commission must restore Assistant Registrar Officers (AROs) of political parties to stop the decrease in the number of registered voters

More than 2 years after the 13th general election and more than 2 years since the decision by the Election Commission not to renew the Assistant Registrar Officers (AROs) of political parties, the nett number of newly registered voters in the 2nd quarter of 2015 has once again showed an overall decrease. According to the data provided by the Election Commission, only three states showed a nett increase of voters (newly registered voters + voters who have changed their address – deleted voters i.e. those who have died or moved away), namely Melaka (+496 voters), Sarawak (+4588 voters) and Terengganu (+10311 voters).[1] (See Table 1 below)

Nett Change = New Registrations + Change of Address – Deleted Voters

All the other states experienced a nett decrease in the number of voters including Perak (-5303 voters), Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur (-3487 voters), Selangor (-3425 voters) and Kedah (- 2911 voters). It is ludicrous that Selangor, the state with a growing population and the largest number of unregistered voters, would experience a nett decrease in the number of voters.

The Election Commission is clearly not doing enough to register new voters. One cannot help but suspect that the Election Commission is NOT aggressively registering new and especially younger voters because this is the segment of the population which is most likely NOT to vote for the ruling coalition. At the same time, the significant increase in the number of nett voters in Terengganu that bucks the overall national trend also seems highly suspicious. It reminds me of the rapid increase in the number of new voters in Terengganu after BN lost control of the state government in 1999. One cannot help but ask if any government agencies such as JASA are involved in registering new voters in Terengganu.

I once again call upon the Election Commission to restore the right for political parties to register new voters through their Assistant Registrar Officers (AROs). The DAP has shown in the past that we are capable of registering many new voters especially among the younger generation through our service centers, our public events and our voter registration initiatives at public places all over Malaysia. In addition, the percentage of registrations by the DAP which are rejected by the Election Commission has never been significant which shows that the DAP is more than able to carry out voter registration exercises in a responsible manner.

If the EC fails to restore this right, it is yet another black mark on this supposedly independent institution and shows that the EC is not interested in allowing more Malaysians to participate in the electoral process.

Dr. Ong Kian Ming
Member of Parliament for Serdang

[1] Putrajaya showed an increase of 196 voters.