Malaysia

400,000 dubious voters may decide 35 seats, GE winner, says polls analyst

By Shannon Teoh
April 10, 2012

File photo of people lining up to cast their ballots in a Kuching polling station in the Sarawak election last year. Cleaning up the electoral roll is a key demand by the opposition and activist groups. — Picture by Choo Choy MayFile photo of people lining up to cast their ballots in a Kuching polling station in the Sarawak election last year. Cleaning up the electoral roll is a key demand by the opposition and activist groups. — Picture by Choo Choy MayKUALA LUMPUR, April 10 — Over 400,000 dubious voters are on the electoral roll, enough to swing 35 federal seats either way and decide if Pakatan Rakyat (PR) can capture Putrajaya or Barisan Nasional (BN) reclaim its customary two-thirds supermajority in Parliament, according to a polls analysis.

Independent political analyst Ong Kian Ming said his Malaysian Electoral Roll Analysis Project (MERAP) found some 100,000 problematic names and combined with other previously highlighted issues, would “easily amount to over 400,000 dubious voters.”

Cleaning up the electoral roll is a key demand by the opposition and activist groups although BN say PR’s five-state victory in Election 2008 is proof there is no irregularity.

Ong told The Malaysian Insider this is likely “just the tip of the iceberg” as there may be other discrepancies that have not yet been uncovered by various parties who have combed through the gazette of over 12 million voters.

“If you divide 400,000 between 222 federal seats, it would average to about 1,800 voters. This is enough to potentially decide 35 seats,” he said, referring to the seats that had slim victories for either coalition.

“If voter sentiment is the same as 2008, then this can add the 30 seats PR needs to form federal government or the eight more BN needs to regain two-thirds,” said the political analyst.

The ruling BN only took 140 seats, losing its customary two-thirds majority in Parliament in Election 2008 as well as four state governments and Kelantan, which has remained in PAS hands for 20 over years. A coalition needs 112 MPs to gain a simple majority and 148 to win two-thirds.

Ong said there was a high concentration of dubious voters in Selangor. — File picOng said there was a high concentration of dubious voters in Selangor. — File picOng’s project traced over 100,000 voters with one of these 10 issues — above 85 years old, gender inconsistent with identity card (IC), same name and similar birth date, born overseas, Klang Valley voters who do not have house addresses, postal voters with regular ICs, spouses of police who are postal voters, spouses of army and police voters who have the same gender, army and police voters above retirement age and army and police postal voters who are above recruitment age.

But, he said, this did not include other problems such as dozens and even thousands of voters registered at the same address and 42,000 voters whose ICs could not be found in the National Registration Department’s (NRD) database.

Ong also said there was a high concentration of dubious voters in Selangor, the country’s wealthiest state which Datuk Seri Najib Razak has pledged to take back “at all cost.”

He said the electoral roll from the last quarter of 2011 showed the number of voters in Selangor had increased by over 340,000 or 21.8 per cent to more than 1.9 million voters since the 2008 general election compared to a national average of 16.3 per cent.

He singled out the marginal seat of Hulu Selangor as experiencing an increase of 17,000 voters, or a whopping 27.1 per cent since the March 2008 general election.

The credibility of the electoral roll has been widely questioned since a Parliamentary Select Committee was set up late last year to look into electoral improvements.

The panel completed its six-month tenure and submitted its findings to Parliament last week but the opposition and civil society have criticised it for lacking specific recommendations on how to clean up the voter register.

Electoral reform movement Bersih then announced it would hold a third rally for free and fair elections on April 28.

Prime Minister Najib had announced the formation of the bipartisan polls committee in August 2011, after being condemned in the international press for his administration’s clampdown on Bersih’s July 9 rally last year which drew tens of thousands to the streets of the capital.