EC: More new voters in 2010 on snap polls talk

By Shazwan Mustafa Kamal, The Malaysian Insider

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 8 – Some 290,000 people registered to vote in the last quarter of 2010, double that of the first three months of the year due to mounting anticipation over possible general elections, the Election Commission (EC) said today.

Based on the figures released by the EC, a total of 292,444 citizens registered as new voters between October and December last year, compared to 246,962 voter signups between July and September of the same year.

The number of new voters for the last quarter of 2010 is almost double that of individuals who have registered as new voters in the first quarter of 2010, believed to be the result of constant speculation over possible general elections in the near future as well as massive campaigning by both Barisan Nasional (BN) and Pakatan Rakyat (PR) to register new voters.

Speculation is rife that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak will call for general elections by year’s end.

The EC also said that there was an increase in applications to change voting addresses, with 38,820 applicants between October and December 2010, as opposed to 32,491 applicants between July and September of the same year.

From January-March 2010, the EC received 157,327 voter applications, including 134,298 new registrations, and this increased to 191,970 applications from April-June of the same year.

Of the 191,970 new applications, 164,820 were new while 27,149 were voters who wanted to change their voting address.

EC chairman Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof had previously predicted that there would be an increase in registration during the October-December quarter.

In an interview with The Malaysian Insider last month, Abdul Aziz said that the registration for the fourth quarter of 2010 was important, and that the numbers will be used if the general election is held in April or May this year.

The EC processes and registers new voter applications every quarter of the year, which is generally done within one or two months after that particular quarter has ended.