Claiming racial targeting, Selangor MP questions EC over Umno’s voter objections

DAP’s Ong Kian Ming questions the Election Commission over baseless racial targeting by Umno in objecting the registration of young voters in the state. ― Picture by Choo Choy May
DAP’s Ong Kian Ming questions the Election Commission over baseless racial targeting by Umno in objecting the registration of young voters in the state. ― Picture by Choo Choy May

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KUALA LUMPUR, April 8 ― DAP MP for Selangor Ong Kian Ming wants the Election Commission (EC) to explain what he alleges to be “spurious” and baseless racial targeting by Umno in objecting the registration of young voters in the state.

He noted there were two distinct “trends” that had emerged from an analysis of the 6,977 total objections in Selangor filed with the EC last year: the first being Umno being the lead objector in a majority of the seats; and secondly, the ruling Malay nationalist party’s objections targeting a number of ethnic Chinese first-time voters there.

“At a time when the Election Commission is supposed to be encouraging more young Malaysians to register to vote, it is unacceptable that it is allowing Umno to carry out race based voter objections in Selangor which will end up depriving thousands of young Malaysians from exercising their constitutional right to vote in the next general election,” he said in a statement.

Ong’s statement included a breakdown analysis of the objections according to ethnic  background of the voters and the party that filed the complaint for each state and parliamentary seat in Selangor.

Of the 4,427 objections or received by the EC in Selangor for the first three quarters of last year, he pointed out that Umno had filed complaints in 30 of the 36 seats it had contested in the 2013 general elections.

In comparison, Ong noted that MCA, the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition’s Chinese party filed objections in only three Selangor seats, while Indian component MIC objected in two seats and the racially diverse Gerakan objected in one seat.

The DAP federal lawmaker also noted that of the 4,427 objections in the first three quarters in Selangor, 92.8 per cent were Chinese voters compared to 5.8 per cent Indian and only 1.2 per cent Malays.

“This trend continued in Q4 2016,” he said.

He pointed to a total of 2,550 objections lodged in Selangor in 24 state seats, and Umno being the main objector in 20 of the seats that it had contested in the 13th general election.

He added that in the breakdown of the last quarter’s data of first-time voters being objected to, 79.1 were Chinese voters, 14.2 per cent Malay and 6.3 per cent Indian.

He claimed to have received “many complaints about objections that were made on spurious grounds such as ‘the address of the voter cannot be found’ or ‘the voter is not known by the local residents’ when in fact, the objector has never visited the voter at his or her registered address” in the case of Selangor.

“We have received anecdotal evidence that the objections in Selangor are being filed by Umno members and Umno linked entities,” he added.

Ong said that he is not protesting against anyone’s right to file objections against voters, but stressed that the objections must be substantiated, and gave as an example, the Johor DAP’s complaints against the registration of large numbers of voters who were found not to be living at the addresses given based on its own investigations.

The Selangor government consisting of DAP, PKR and PAS had taken the EC to court last October over what it alleged to be an unconstitutional redelineation exercise.

On March 9, the Selangor government lost its bid to question the commission’s chairman over the inclusion of over 136,000 registered voters without addresses in its proposed redelineation exercise.

However, the High Court judge granted a stay on court proceedings for the ongoing hearing and fixed April 11 for case management.

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