10 ‘Major’ Flaws Found in Electoral Roll May Be ‘Tip of the Iceberg’

- Advertisement - [resads_adspot id="2"]

Former IGPs Khalid, Ismail still registered as advance voters.

Civil societies Bersih 2.0 and ENGAGE claim to have uncovered more major irregularities in the electoral roll, including two Inspector-Generals of Police (IGP) still registered as advance voters.

The two IGPs were Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar who retired last year, and Tan Sri Ismail Omar who retired in 2012 and was then appointed an ambassador to France.

The 10 flaws:

  1. Deceased voters re-registered as new voters (23 cases)
  2. Former citizens re-registered as new voters (48 cases)
  3. Voters existed during GE12, disappeared during GE13, reappeared in GE14 without any track record in the supplementary electoral roll (2,015 cases)
  4. Voters removed due to inactive record in the JPN (National Registration Department) system re-registered as new voters
  5. Voters with voting address changed very frequently (over 1,000 cases)
  6. Voters’ year of birth not matching with IC number (795 cases)
  7. Many voters registered in one address (over 500,000 cases)
  8. Up to 15 percent of voters without addresses (2,123,973 cases)
  9. Retired police officers remain as advance voters (3,525 cases), double issuance of postal ballots
  10. Same army ID being reused by another person

Polls watchdog Bersih 2.0 acting chairman Shahrul Aman Mohd Saari said the irregularities were discovered based on analysis of the Election Commission’s (EC) historical as well as latest electoral roll which will be used in the election.

“These irregularities are nothing new, as the 2011 Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) on Electoral Reform had affirmed the problems and made recommendation for the EC to clean up the electoral roll.

“We are concerned that these irregularities continue to persist, given that the general election is going to be held next week,” he told the press.

Shahrul said the integrity of the electoral roll was one of the most important elements in clean and fair elections.

A defective electoral roll, he said, would bring into question the legitimacy of the whole election.

“We believe that the huge number of dubious voters discovered in these preliminary findings are just the tip of the iceberg,” he said.

Azinuddin Ghazali

In one example, the study listed numerous cases of multiple people registered at the same address in the parliamentary constituency of Bagan Datuk, held by Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.

“Our conclusion is that there are symptoms of a deliberate plan…action to massively move voters to impact elections in marginal constituencies,” Bersih official Chan Tsu Chong told a news conference.

Shahrill Basri/Sunpix

Bersih 2.0 and Engage did not say who they believed was behind the plan.

The existence of a 121-year-old voter was also found, raising the spectre of possible fraud.

Meanwhile, a complete independent audit of the current electoral roll was demanded to ensure that future elections are truly clean and fair.

“The incoming government should also repeal Section 9A of the Elections Act to allow challenges to the electoral roll in court.”

Bersih and Engage then pledged to assist polling agents by providing the list of suspicious voters in their respective constituencies, nationwide.

“We call on all voters to check their voter status on https://pengundi.spr.gov.my. If there are any irregularities found, they are urged to submit complaints to the EC and to Bersih at https://aduan.pemantau.org/.

“Lastly, Bersih and Engage call upon all legitimate voters to return and cast their votes on May 9, 2018. The effect of cheating, in particular involving phantom voters and electoral roll, can only be overcome by an overwhelming voter turnout.”

According to Reuters, the EC did not respond to a request for comment while Barisan Nasional (BN) said in an email response that Bersih’s findings should not be taken as objective facts as it was a “functioning arm of Malaysia’s opposition”.

“As such, Bersih has every reason to undermine confidence in the vote so that afterwards it can complain that the election wasn’t fair. This is a smear on Malaysia, and the integrity of Malaysia’s independent Electoral Commission,” a spokesperson was quoted saying.

The opposition and other critics have said that recently redrawn electoral boundaries favor the ruling coalition, which has been accused of gerrymandering.

The government and the Election Commission have rejected that assertion, saying the changes were made independently and without political interference.