JOHOR BAHRU, May 20 - The Election Commission said today checking the citizenship status of electoral candidates does not come under its jurisdiction and that the onus is on the political parties which selects the candidates to verify that.
“It is not our duty to look into the citizenship status. Our job is to conduct an election once the speaker of a legislative assembly notifies the EC of vacant seats,” said EC chairman Datuk Seri Mohd Hashim Abdullah.
However, the EC would also abide by the decision of a court of law that decided on the status of a seat, he said to reporters at the launch of a voter registration exercise at Pasar Borneo here.
Mohd Hashim also hit out at certain quarters which alleged that the EC’s outreach programmes were politically motivated.
“We are not a political party. We have our core duty. Firstly, we are a body that conducts elections as mandated by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong.
“Secondly, we carry out a redelineation exercise every eight years. Thirdly, we carry out the voter registration exercise,” he said.
Mohd Hashim was asked about the citizenship status of electoral candidates in reference to the disqualification of Dr Ting Tiong Choon as the DAP state assemblyman for the Pujut state seat in Sarawak on May 12 due to the alleged Australian citizenship he held.
The EC has set June 20 for nomination and July 4 for polling in the Pujut state by-election.
On the outreach programme, he said it was an exercise to raise awareness among the people, especially the many people of Sabah and Sarawak in Johor.
“We understand that there are 55,000 people from Sabah and Sarawak in Johor. Some among them are unsure whether to register as voters in Johor or in their home states. We will be able to help them in the matter,” he said.
Mohd Hashim said 3.8 million Malaysians who were eligible to vote had yet to register as voters, and that many among them were aged between 21 and 40. — Bernama