Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Nearly 4.4 million yet to register as voters

Mon, Jan 18, 2010 | PUTRAJAYA | freemalaysiatoday :

Some 28 per cent of eligible voters–or 4.39 million Malaysians over the age of 21– have yet to register as voters as of the end of last year, Election Commission (EC) Deputy Chairman Datuk Wira Wan Ahmad Wan Omar said.

Of the total, Selangor has the highest number at 787,000, followed by Johor (605,000), Perak (526,000) and Sarawak (473,000).

“Most of them, or about 65 per cent, are Malays and Bumiputeras of Sabah and Sarawak,” Bernama quoted him as saying. “From the registration forms we received recently, we found that more non-Bumiputera youths are registering as voters.”

Wan Ahmad said the EC would seek the cooperation of non-governmental organisations, youth organisations and other groups to inform the EC if they were organising events involving large numbers of people so that it could open voter registration counters.

“They can just contact us and inform us about their events. The EC will be very happy to open a counter there,” he said.

He also said that the EC would intensify efforts to register voters by putting up counters at shopping malls, participating in meet-the-client sessions organised by departments, going into the rural areas and appointing deputy registrars among political parties to register those qualified to be registered.

The public could also register as voters at 700 post offices nationwide, he said.

The EC would also seek the cooperation of the electronic media to encourage the public to register as voters, he added.

He attributed the situation to the attitude of the public who prefer to wait until the very last minute before registering as voters.

“Each time there is a general election, the EC receives at least a million application forms; so imagine the burden of certifying these applications within one or two months,” he said.

“When they cannot be registered on time, they blame the EC, when in fact they can register as voters throughout the year.

“The people should be aware that our election system practices a simple majority victory. A candidate can win even by a margin of one vote; so the voters have a huge responsibility in determining the future of our country,” he said.