Lim Kit Siang
A massive deception and propaganda campaign is afoot, making full use of public funding and mobilising the mainstream media and Barisan Nasional cybertroopers, to create the impression that the majority report of the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) on electoral reform complies with seven of the eight Bersih 2.0 Demands for clean, free and fair elections when in actual fact, only one is being implemented.
The only one of the eight Bersih 2.0 Demands which is being implemented is Bersih 2.0 Demand 3 on “Use of Indelible ink” while the other seven Bersih 2.0 Demands are either given partial and unsatisfactory responses, or mere lip-service and meaningless recognition or outright rejection as in Bersih 2.0 Demand 4 on “Minimum 21 days campaign period”.
The eight Bersih 2.0 Demands that motivated 50,000 Malaysians transcending race, religion and region to support the historic July 9, 2011 Bersih 2.0 rally were:
Clean the electoral roll
Reform postal ballot
Use of indelible ink
Minimum 21 days campaign period
Free and fair access to media
Strengthen public institutions
Stop dirty politics
The best example of the failure of the PSC majority report to address the core demand for a clean, free and fair election is Bersih 2.0 Demand 1 on “Clean the electoral roll”, which states:
“The electoral roll is marred with irregularities such as deceased persons and multiple persons registered under a single address or non-existent addresses.
“The electoral roll must be revised and updated to wipe out these ‘phantom voters’. The rakyat have a right to an electoral roll that is an accurate reflection of the voting population.”
This is also why Pakatan Rakyat parties of DAP, PKR and PAS fully supported the three Pakatan Rakyat MPs on the PSC, Loke Siew Fook (Rasah), Mohamed Azmin (Gombak) and Dr. Mohd Hatta (Kuala Krai) in their effort to append a minority report, as the PSC majority report had failed to deal with the crux of the problem to ensure clean, free and fair elections and guarantee a clean, comprehensive and legitimate electoral roll in the 13th general election.
The fatal weakness of the PSC majority report is its failure to acknowledge the many problems in the electoral roll and the total absence of a commitment to address all of these problems before the 13GE since they can affect the balance of power in the upcoming General Election.
The fact that there are significant problems with the Malaysian electoral roll is not something new. Allegations of phantom voters and illegal immigrants being given fake ICs in order to register themselves as voters have been well documented. For example, the election results in the state seat of Likas in the 1999 Sabah state election was declared invalid by the Election Court because of the presence of phantom voters in the electoral roll.
Given these past problems with the electoral roll, it is highly inappropriate for the PSC majority report to only highlight just one problem to do with the electoral roll which is addresses which have more than 50 registered voters.
The PSC majority report blatantly ignores the other problems with the electoral roll which have been discovered including:
Over 31,000 names which have been shifted from state and/or parliament constituency to another without their knowledge as a result of the ‘stealth correction’ of boundary lines of state and parliamentary constituencies by the Election Commission which is illegal and unconstitutional
The failure of the Election Commission to delete over 42,000 names of voters whose citizenship status cannot be verified by the National Registration Department (NRD).
The failure of the Election Commission to verify the status of over 65,000 voters aged 85 years and above including over 1000 who are more than 100 years old.
Over 15,000 names whose IC numbers show a different gender than the Election Commission records.
Over 4500 names of spouses of police who are registered as postal voters when they are clearly not entitled to this right.
Pakatan Rakyat has provided concrete evidence of all these problems but they have not been recognized in the PSC majority report.
The total number of voters associated with these problems adds up to over 150,000 and many of them are located in marginal or swing constituencies that will be closely contested in the next general election.
More worrying is the high possibility that these problems are only the tip of the iceberg underneath which hides massive electoral fraud.
Sabah after the 1990 election and Terengganu after the 1999 election are just two examples where there were sudden increases in the number of voters in the electoral roll in the states to enable the BN to win back the state government from the Opposition.
Now we see the same pattern being repeated in the state of Selangor leading up to the 13th general election.
The number of voters in Sabah increased by 17.6% from 1990 to 1995 compared to the national average of 13.0%. This was after PBS left the BN coalition prior to the 1990 Sabah state elections and was in charge of the state government from 1990 to 1994.
In the state of Terengganu, the number of voters increased by a whopping 17.7% from 1999 to 2004 compared to a national average of 7.3%. Again, it is noteworthy that the state of Terengganu had fallen to the opposition during the 1999 general elections.
In 1999, the opposition won 28 out of 32 state seats and all 8 parliamentary seats. In 2004, after this massive increase in the number of voters, the opposition won only 1 parliamentary and 4 state seats, an almost total reverse of the 1999 general election results.
In Selangor, according to the 4th quarter 2011 electoral roll, the number of voters has increased by over 340,000 to more than 1.9 million voters since the 2008 general election.
This represents an increase of 21.8% compared to a national average of 16.3%. Some of these increases have occurred in areas which limited increases in the number of new housing estates and population inflows. For example, the seat of Hulu Selangor, a marginal parliamentary seat, saw an increase of more than 17,000 voters or 27.1% from the 2008 general election to the 4th Quarter 2011 electoral roll.
It was reported that over 1,100 voters Permanent Residents were included in the electoral roll in Selangor including one ‘Mismah’ whose status was quickly upgraded from PR to Citizen upon the discovery of her inclusion in the electoral roll.
These examples highlight the possibility of large scale systematic cheating with the intention of recapturing the state government of Selangor. Again, what has been discovered so far may only be the tip of the iceberg.
The Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz had argued in Parliament that the fact that five state governments fell to the opposition in 2008 was proof that the electoral rolls are not tainted. One should ask whether the opposition could have won control of more states and perhaps even the federal government if the electoral roll were totally clear of phantom voters.
BN is fighting for its political survival and would do anything to remain in power including padding the electoral roll with phantom voters using various tricks and strategies. It is essential that the electoral roll be clear of these phantom voters to ensure that the upcoming 13th general election does not turn out to be a massive electoral fraud in the making.
The exclusion of the highlighting of these problems in the PSC Report on Electoral Reform makes a mockery of the intent to deliver a freer and fairer electoral system to Malaysians.