Tindak Malaysia calls for amendment to regulation on registration of electors

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Tindak Malaysia calls upon the Malaysian government and the Electoral Commission to consider the fresh amendments we have proposed pertaining to the registration of electors.

As the electoral roll is the foundation of electoral enfranchisement in the country, it is of utmost importance that the Elections (Registration of Electors) Regulations 2002 (ROE) be amended to ensure electoral integrity and inclusiveness for the Malaysian adult population.

Through Projek Beres, Tindak Malaysia has produced documentation to amend the ROE of 2002, which was prior to the introduction of the lowering of the minimum voting age from 21 to 18 and automatic voter registration.

Our then amended proposal was submitted to the institutional reforms committee, the electoral reform committee, the Electoral Commission and the parliamentary Special Select Committee on Human Rights, Election and Institutional Reforms from 2018 to 2023.

When the lowering of the minimum voting age and automatic voter registration were gazetted in late 2021, the ROE was amended significantly to reflect the new system of electoral roll updates (from quarterly to monthly).

To the credit of the Electoral Commission, it has introduced and maintained progressive policies or conventions such as prioritising voters from a disability background to be channelled to the first or most conveniently located voting channel for polling day purposes since 2019. This has been similarly applied to elderly voters over the decades.

Moreover, the Electoral Commission has also increased much needed measures for vigilance of any suspicious movements. It has also made the display of draft supplementary rolls through online methods during the Covid pandemic.

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As a result of these changes, Tindak Malaysia has carried out adequate research with the consultation of volunteers within the Tindak Malaysia movement on the type of amendments necessary and required for the ROE in 2024.

The major highlights of our proposed amendments are:

  • Categorise a special class of absent voters to consider the voters of Sabah, Sarawak, the federal territory of Labuan and the peninsula who reside out-of-town (within Malaysia) as postal voters
  • Formalise the Electoral Commission’s policy of channelling voters with disabilities and elderly voters to the easiest voting channel as subregulations
  • Codify the requirements for the display of draft supplementary rolls through online methods in order for voters of a constituency to easily query or raise objections to the entrance of voters in a conducive and transparent manner

Our updated proposal on ROE still retains parts of our previous findings such as proper validation requirements, penalties for any infarctions caused by officers of the Electoral Commission on the electoral roll. Ensure that the purchase of electoral roll is priced reasonably.

The current ROE proposal (in Malay) can be accessed through this website [under Special Update (for Registration of Electors (ROE)].

This proposal has been submitted to the Electoral Commission and the Special Select Committee on Human Rights, Election and Institutional Reforms.

Tindak Malaysia is also updating other relevant electoral law proposals to reflect the current times.

We call upon the Electoral Commission and the Malaysian government to thoroughly study and consider our proposal to start on a new round of amendments to better address the current challenges faced by the electoral system in our country.

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As the electoral roll constitutes a major foundation for free and fair elections and considering by- elections are potentially more common due to the implications of the anti-defections law, it is crucial that the laws governing electoral roll management allow for the preservation of electoral integrity and inclusivity. – Tindak Malaysia

Danesh Prakash Chacko is director of Tindak Malaysia.

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