Pos Malaysia and the Election Commission should both ensure the smooth functioning of the current voter registration exercise

Press Statement
by John Chung

(Petaling Jaya, Monday): Last Friday, the Election Commission (EC) took Pos Malaysia to task over the latter's handling of the voter registration exercise following complaints from the public. EC secretary Datuk Wan Ahmad Wan Omar pointed out that the complaints include insufficient registration forms, long queues and various technical problems.

Such shortcomings should be quickly resolved to ensure that the present exercise is not jeopardized. As it is now, the number of eligible Malaysians who have registered as voters is still very low. Failure on the part of Pos Malaysia to rectify these problems and upgrade its services would only turn away frustrated young Malaysians from registering as voters.

Indeed, Pos Malaysia, as a public services entity, should ensure a greater level of efficiency in line with public expectations especially after its privatization. Nevertheless, the EC should not entirely heap the blame on Pos Malaysia as the commission should also rectify any system glitches on its part.

The Star had on 25 March 2003 published a letter by a reader who complained about the inefficient service by both Pos Malaysia and the EC. Despite three visits to the post office, he was unable to register himself as a voter due to system linkage problems. On his third visit, he was informed by the officer in charge that the commission's system was down and no connection could be established.

Both Pos Malaysia and the EC should therefore work hand in hand to ensure the smooth functioning of the voter registration exercise so that it is not undermined by avoidable problems caused by inefficiency. At the same time, both parties should step up efforts to encourage more eligible Malaysians to register as voters by creating greater awareness through the media and putting up publicity posters and billboards in all public areas.


* John Chung, DAP National Publicity Bureau Assistant Secretary