25 January, 2010


I refer to my statement last week calling for the automatic registration for voters attaining 21 years old and the reported statement today by Datuk Wira Wan Ahmad Wan Omar, Election Commission (EC) Deputy Chairman that an automatic voter registration would not be feasible because some 30% Malaysians failed to update their address in MyKad after they moved houses or states.

He explained that the commission conducted a study after the 2004 elections on the pros and cons of having an automatic voter registration and found it was not ‘suitable’.

According to him, automatic voter registration would cause problems on polling day and the people would blame the Commission for not having their latest residential address.

With due respect to the Election Commission Deputy Chairman, under the current registration system, there are also tons of eligible voters who did not update their latest residential address.

The current registration system is also based on the residential address on MyKad of the people, even if they did not update their address after they have moved houses or states.

Thus, in whatever system that EC decides to adopt, any changes of address of the voters would still require updating of their address in their respective MyKad with the National Registration Department.

It would be unfortunate that a large number of Malaysians would be deprieved of their voting rights under the current manual registration system. As was announced last week by the EC, there are some 28% or 4.39 million Malaysians over the age of 21years old who have yet to register as voters as of end of last year.

In line with the EC’s objective to enable more people to vote (which led to their recent proposal for “early votings”), I would suggest the EC to restudy in allowing “automatic registration for Malaysians who attain 21 years old”.

It is time now for the Election Commission to consider studying ways to improve the current system to enable all Malaysians to vote.

Under the automatic registration system, the default constituency should be based on the last known address given by the National Registration Department unless it is updated by the voters within one (1) year before the election date.

Instead of organizing events to register voters, the EC would then be focusing in promoting Malaysians to update their latest address with the National Registration Department (which would in any event be required in whatever system that the EC adopts).

The launch of the “address update campaign” will create awareness to the people and the eligible voters will not blame the EC for not having their latest residential address.