EC denies ethnically-targeted objections against new voters

Ethnic Chinese seen at the Election Commission’s office in Shah Alam to verify themselves as eligible voters. — Picture courtesy of Elaine Lee
Ethnic Chinese seen at the Election Commission’s office in Shah Alam to verify themselves as eligible voters. — Picture courtesy of Elaine Lee

KUALA LUMPUR, March 11 — The Election Commission has rejected allegations that specific communities were being singled out using objections against their registrations as new voters.

EC chairman Datuk Seri Mohd Hashim Abdullah said all objections or registrations for new voters are done in accordance with Article 119 of the Federal Constitution and without any discrimination.

“When there is an objection, the EC will process it fairly without looking at his or her voting area, age, gender or religion.

“Registrations that have been objected involved all races, and not limited to any one race,” he told Malay Mail Online.

Malay Mail Online had earlier reported of one such incident, involving a Chinese woman’s boyfriend in Selangor.

She had claimed that there were mostly Chinese Malaysians at the EC’s office in Shah Alam, who received objection letters to be voters when they went to the office Monday morning.  

A letter sighted by the Malay Mail Online stated that Elaine Lee’s boyfriend’s application to be registered as a voter at the Petaling Jaya Selatan parliamentary constituency and Taman Medan state seat was rejected because he was a “pemilih diragui” (suspicious voter).

In explaining the objection process, Mohd Hashim said that upon receiving a letter of voter’s objection, the EC would call up both parties and screen through all aspects.

“The EC’s Registrar will then decide whether or not to accept the objection based on evidence presented by the objector and the one who is objected,” he said.

The process, Mohd Hashim said, was simply to ensure that there were no phantom voters.

He clarified that the EC does not classify any voters as “pemilih diragui” or “pemilih disyaki” (suspicious or dubious voter), explaining that an objector may fill any explanation under the reasons to object column of the letter.

Mohd Hashim said any registered voter may file an objection against an application under Order 15 of the Election Laws (Voters Registration) by paying a fee of RM10.

Each objector, he said, may object up to 20 people, but this can only be done once.

If an objector fails to present valid evidence to support his or her objection, Mohd Hashim said the objector will then have to pay RM100 to the person objected.

The award, he said citing from the Elections (Registration of Electors) Regulations 2002, “is like an order by the Sessions Court”, but does not state a time frame for the objector to pay the sum.

Subjects of valid objections will not be included in the voter rolls, Mohd Hashim explained.

The whole process, he said, takes up to four months, explaining that the EC releases voters’ name list every yearly quarter for objection purposes.

Editor's notes: A previous version of the report misspelt the name of the EC chairman as Hisham. The report has since been corrected.

** EC chairman Datuk Seri Mohd Hashim Abdullah later clarified a remark on the recovery of compensation sum owed to the person who was objected to, which has since been corrected here.

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