Automatic voter registration ready by January 2021

pic by TMR FILE

THE automatic voter registration system will be ready by January 2021, said Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Law) Datuk Liew Vui Keong.

However, according to Liew, the implementation will take some time as it involves about four million Malaysians who have yet to register as voters.

“The process has begun and is expected to be completed in January next year.

“Those who have not registered prior to that will be able to exercise their right to vote, including all the 18 years old (voters),” he said in the Dewan Rakyat yesterday.

Liew was responding to Datuk Seri Ahmad Maslan (Barisan Nasional-Pontian) supplementary question on the measures taken to expedite the move to implement automatic voter registration from its initial two-year target.

Ahmad also raised concerns on the action that would be taken on any breach of election rules by Pakatan Harapan (PH) during the Tanjung Piai by-election.

Liew said all parties are required to follow the current election rules and laws.

“If there are any reports lodged to the Election Commission (EC), it will take action and record it before lodging a police report for further action,” he added.

Ahmad was referring to reports that PH leaders allegedly had given away SIM cards and RM1,000 cash aid for fishermen, as well as food and drinks for voters in Tanjung Piai.

On the initial question by Syed Ibrahim Syed Noh (PH-Ledang) regarding improvements and reforms carried out by the EC, Liew said several measures have been implemented since the 14th General Election (GE14).

Among those are an extension of voting time from 8am to 5.30pm, instead of 5pm previously, providing postal vote application for overseas and local voters one day after nomination day and live streaming of the voting process.

According to Liew, the EC is also conducting periodic updates on the electoral rolls in accordance with Regulation 10 and Regulation 25 of the Electoral (Registration of Electors) Regulations 2002.

“This includes deleting the names of registered voters who have passed and removing the names of voters who have been confirmed to have been stripped of nationality,” he added.

Concerning voter registration issues improvement, Liew said the EC has also established a Voter Registration Improvement Policy Committee to look into it.

“The committee will also identify the best and most appropriate mechanism to be implemented by the EC for the purpose of updating and cleaning up the electoral rolls in accordance with the provisions of the law in force,” Liew said.

Other measures include implementing the submission of ballot paper statements (Form 13) and statements of the pole after ballot counting (Form 14) using the WhatsApp application facility to speed up election results.

“In addition, the EC has also implemented improvements related to the election campaign activities during the by-election such as implementing a campaign period of 14 days to 21 days compared to 11 days during the GE14.

“Also, (we have) established a Special Task Force on Election Campaign during the election to focus on coordinating matters involving election campaign monitoring,” Liew added.

There would be enhanced smart partnerships with departments or agencies closely linked to election offences such as the Royal Malaysian Police, the Malaysian Anti- Corruption Commission (MACC) and the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission.

“Through the cooperation, the MACC has agreed to establish an MACC Operating Room for 24 hours during the election campaign period,” he added.

Additionally, an EC task force committee and the National Registration Department have been set up for the purpose of disseminating citizen information on voter registration matters, particularly the implementation of voter registration.