Ridiculous for Election Commission to talk about electronic voting system when it cannot cope with online voter registration or ensure a clean and valid electoral list

Media Statement
by Lim Kit Siang

(Penang, Sunday): It is ridiculous for the Election Commission to talk about  implementing an electronic voting system for future elections when it could not cope with online voter registration  or accomplish its most elementary task  of drawing up  a clean and valid electoral list free of phantom voters. 

The Election Commission should give top priority to introduce an automatic voter registration system  where  a citizen who reaches 21 years and qualifies to be a voter is automatically placed on the electoral list based on his or her address on the national identity card  and to purge the  electoral list of all phantom voters.


The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad had bandied the figure of 2.8 million phantom voters while the Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi had said that there should not be much difficulty in tracking the phantom voters as the Election Commission and the relevant  government departments were fully computerized.


Last month, Abdullah had said:


"A voter must be genuinely connected to the place where or she is registered.  If the commission finds 20 or 30 persons using the same address, or the voters come from places unrelated to the place of registration, then something is wrong and this should be investigated.  (Star 5.11.02)


A week before polling day in the last general election in November 1999, I had pointed out that there were thousands of phantom voters in Bukit Bendera parliamentary constituency, referring in particular to over 279  phantom voters registered  in eight Rifle Range flats when  it was  impossible to have 30 to 40 voters in one flat!  


DAP fully agrees with Abdullah of the need  for a complete clean-up of the electoral roll to ensure that voting is not tainted by fraud, cheating and phantom votes.  As Abdullah said, the integrity and credibility of the Election Commission is at stake on whether it could clean the electoral roll of phantom voters.


Can the Election Commission explain the progress of its clean-up of the electoral roll, in particular the  2.8 million phantom voters on the electoral roll alleged by UMNO, before it introduces the idea of electronic voting system?



* Lim Kit Siang, DAP National Chairman