|Voter registration: Scandalous EC has failed|
|Liew Chin Tong | Nov 18, 08 4:20pm( http://www.malaysiakini.com )|
|The legitimacy of a democracy hinges on the active participation of the people. The Election Commission has failed in its obligation to ensure maximum participation of Malaysians in the electoral process as one-third of those eligible to vote are not registered as voters.
Election Commission Deputy Chairperson Wan Ahmad Wan Omar recently told the press that 16.9 million Malaysians are eligible to vote but only 10.9 million are registered as voters.
In other words, if Wan Ahmad’s figures are to be believed, six million Malaysians have not been involved in the electoral process.
It is the obligation of the Election Commission to ensure maximum participation of the people in the electoral process, and the commission is given huge amount of funds for that purpose.
Last year, at least RM30 million was allocated for voter registration. Therefore, it is scandalous that the EC has failed miserably in this respect.
But ultimately, the government and the Election Commission must heed the call to implement automatic voter registration.
Technically, since July 16, 2002, the database between National Registration Department and the Election Commission have been ‘shared’ and thus it is entirely feasible to implement the automatic registration of eligible voters.
Further, there is a need to lower the voting age to 17 or 18 years in line with international and regional norms.
Almost all electoral democracies in Southeast Asia have set their voting age at 17 or 18.
After all, if a 17 or 18-year-old Malaysian is deemed fit to drive and undergo National Service, he or she should be deemed mature enough to exercise the obligation of every citizen, that is, to select the government of his/her choice in an election.
The writer is the DAP member of parliament for Bukit Bendera, Penang.
Democracy become repulsive: Non-registered voters grow to 6 millions/30%+!
18/11/2008 by democracy4now