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Media statement by Teo Nie Ching in Parliament on Monday, 8th November 2010:

RM2,226,000.00 was spent to register only 161,148 new voters in 2009; what is the KPI of the EC?

According to the statistics provided by Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Dato' Seri Mohamad Nazri Aziz, there are currently 11,381,193 registered voters and 4,304,620 unregistered voters in Malaysia.

The figure of unregistered voters in Malaysia is alarming. Many BN leaders have indicated that the 13th General Election might take place early next year, and if it is so, that means 27.4% of Malaysians who are above the age of 21 do not have the right to decide who they would like to lead them, as well as have no say in who forms the next government.

The Election Commission has repeatedly promised to do their best to register as many voters as possible before the 13th General Election. In order to do that, the EC has carried out many "Outreach Programmes" throughout the nation. As such, a budget of RM726,000 was allocated in Budget 2009 while an additional allocation of RM1,500,000 was given in the 2nd Supplementary Budget of 2009 for the purpose of doing "Outreach Programmes". With that, 5,635 Outreach Programmes were carried out throughout the country in 2009 while 161,148 new voters were registered during such programmes.

The efficiency and cost-effectiveness of the "Outreach Programmes" carried out by EC is definitely unsatisfactory. A simple calculation would show that EC was spending RM13.81 to register a new voter while for the Assistant Registrars appointed by political parties, EC is only paying them RM1 for each successfully registered voter. As we are looking at 4.3 million unregistered voters, it is going to cost us taxpayers RM59,461,390.00 to register all unregistered voters in Malaysia at this rate!

According to the 2009 Annual Report of the EC, only 279,490 new voters were registered last year. With more than 4.3 million eligible voters yet to be registered, the number of new voters registered in 2009 is extremely small at only 6.5%. I am not sure how our Prime Minister and the KPI minister would rate the EC, but to me they have failed at fulfilling their KPI.

If EC cannot improve their efficiency, it is time for the BN government to implement automatic voter registration, especially when Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak has indicated at the end of this year's Umno general assembly that there is a real possibility of having the 13th general election next year.

Automatic voter registration has been implemented in many countries such as Germany, Finland, Denmark, Norway, Taiwan and many more. With the National Registration Department holding all the details such as date of birth, IC number and address of each and every Malaysian, there is no good reason why automatic voter registration cannot be implemented in Malaysia.

In Parliament on 26 October 2010, Nazri had insisted that the government cannot "force" voters to exercise their right to vote, as one of the reasons why Malaysia cannot implement automatic voter registration. Might I remind the Minister that automatic voter registration does not equate to "compulsory voting" as practised in countries such as Australia, Chile, Fiji and Brazil.

At the end of the day, what is important is that every Malaysian has the right to decide their fate and future. Such rights should not be denied by complicating a simple process through bureaucratic processes and procedures.

* Teo Nie Ching, DAP Assistant National Publicity Secretary & MP for Serdang



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