Nearly 360,000 names axed from electoral roll

pic by MUHD AMIN NAHARUL

THE Election Commission (EC) has cleared nearly 360,000 names from the electoral registry, Deputy Law Minister Mohamed Hanipa Maidin said.

Out of the total, 348,098 names were voters who have deceased and 11,799 are those whose citizenship had been revoked. Both figures represent ongoing efforts to clear the electoral roll which have been in place since 2017 up until Aug 31, 2019.

“The people who have been dropped off from the electoral register involve those who have died and those who have lost their citizenship based on information provided by the National Registration Department (JPN),” Mohamed Hanipa told the Dewan Rakyat yesterday.

He said this in response to a question by Khoo Poay Tiong (Pakatan Harapan-Kota Melaka) who asked the minister on measures taken by the EC to clear the electoral roll.

Mohamed Hanipa said the commission is also looking at other issues linked to “phantom” voters, including those aged above 90 and early votes from retired military and police officers.

“The commission is tracking them and will write letters to confirm their status,” he said.

Mohamed Hanipa added that the EC has been conducting periodic updates on the electoral roll in accordance with Regulation 10 and Regulation 25 of the Electoral (Voter Registration) Regulations 2002.

Since his appointment in September last year, EC chairman Datuk Azhar Azizan Harun has made it his priority to change the public’s perception of the electoral body by cleaning up the registry. Azhar Azizan had then described it as a perennial problem.

The EC has since established the Voters’ Registration Improvement Policy Committee which is tasked to review matters related to voter registration. Apart from ghost voters, the EC also has to deal with a new registration system that will be up by January 2021.

It is estimated that the system will add some 3.8 million new voters to the electoral roll. Currently, there are about 14.8 million registered voters in the country.

Most recently, a task force had been set up between the EC and JPN to verify information related to citizenship to streamline data on the automatic registration system.

The commission is also working with the Royal Malaysian Police and the Malaysian Armed Forces to get updated details on the localities of their officials, especially those who have retired from service.

In addition, strategic partnerships have been established between the EC and non-governmental organisations, as well as political parties to improve the electoral roll.