Pakatan mulls delaying Selangor polls due to new voter spike
KUALA LUMPUR, April 18 — Pakatan Rakyat (PR) wants to delay state polls in Selangor until the Election Commission (EC) cleans up the electoral roll in the PKR-controlled state which the federal opposition says has ballooned by 35 per cent or nearly half a million voters since Election 2008.
Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim told a press conference that other PR states are still discussing their options but the coalition’s national leadership is suggesting that Selangor waits until the roll is clean.
“The issue is not the increase but fraud. We want a detailed explanation from the EC,” the PKR de facto leader said.
He claimed that the level of fraud in the state was the worst in Malaysia, a sign that Datuk Seri Najib Razak “has a phobia about not taking back Selangor.”
The former deputy prime minister claimed that there were 398,000 new voters registered since March 2008 and another 91,000 who have shifted to the state, a total increase of over one-third in four years.
The Malaysian Insider reported last month PKR was opposed to holding simultaneous polls in Selangor if the next general election is called by May or June, as party leaders believe it would be a better tactical strategy to garner more voter support.
PR won 36 out of a total of 56 state seats in Selangor in the last general election where PKR’s Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim replaced Umno’s Dr Mohd Khir Toyo as mentri besar.
A poll analysis recently found that the highest concentration of dubious voters was in Selangor, the country’s wealthiest state which Prime Minister Najib has pledged to take back “at all costs.”
Independent political analyst Ong Kian Ming said his Malaysian Electoral Roll Analysis Project (MERAP) 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 March 2008 general election compared to a national average of 16.3 per cent.
He singled out the marginal seat of Hulu Selangor, which has seen 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 month but the opposition and civil society groups have criticised it for lacking specific recommendations on how to clean up the voter registry.
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.