Saturday, January 25

4.39 million Malaysians yet to register as voters: EC deputy chairman

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PUTRAJAYA: Some 28 per cent or 4.39 million Malaysians over the age of 21 have yet to register as voters as of end of last year, Election Commission (EC) deputy chairman Datuk Wira Wan Ahmad Wan Omar said.

Of the total, Selangor has the highest number at 787,000 followed by Johor (605,000), Perak (526,000) and Sarawak (473,000).

“Most of them, or about 65 per cent, are Malays and Bumiputeras of Sabah and Sarawak.

“From the registration forms we received recently, we found that more non-Bumiputera youths registering themselves as voters,” he said when contacted by Bernama yesterday.

Until the end of last year, there were 11.08 million electorates in the country compared to the number of those aged 21 and above, which was 15.47 million, he said.

Wan Ahmad said the EC would seek the cooperation of non-governmental organisations, youth organisations or those organising events involving the attendance of a huge number  of  people,   to  inform the EC so that it could open voter registration counters.

“They can just contact us and inform us about their events. The EC will be very happy to open a counter there,” he said.

He also said that the EC would intensify efforts to register voters by putting up counters at shopping malls, participating in meet-the-client  sessions  organised by departments, going into the rural areas and appointing deputy registrars among political parties to register those qualified to be registered.

The public could also register as voters at 700 post offices nationwide, he said.

The EC would also seek the cooperation from the electronic media to encourage the public to register as voters, he added.

He attributed the situation to the attitude of the public who prefer to wait until the very last minute before registering as voters.

“Each time there is a general election, the EC receives at least a million application forms; so imagine the burden of certifying these applications within one or two months.

“When they cannot be registered on time, they blame the EC, when in fact they can register as voters throughout the year. The people should be aware that our election system practices a simple majority victory. A candidate can win even by a margin of one vote; so the voters have a huge responsibility in determining the future of our country,” he said. — Bernama