EC clarifies 'underage voter' email

Andrew Ong | Jan 11, 08

Election Commission (EC) Selangor has clarified that a widely spread email claiming that there were underage voters in two Parliamentary constituencies is false.

According to Selangor EC director Jailani Abdul Majid, the three identity card numbers in the emails were those of dead and not underage voters.
Based on a check on the EC’s website, the three identity card numbers provided in the email belonged to three allegedly underage voters from the Sabak Bernam and Sepang Parliamentary constituencies.
In most of these emails, the authors deduced from the identity card numbers that the voters were born in the 1990’s. However, Jailani said they were most likely born in the 1890’s.
Jailani said the names were in the process of being removed from the electoral roll which can be verified by members of the public when the rolls go on display from tomorrow until next Friday.
“We have received and replied numerous queries from the public on this matter,” he told Malaysiakini.
NRD’s problem

Asked why such errors could have occurred, Jailani said the problem lies with the nature of identity card numbers issued by the National Registration Department (NRD).
“We are not the creator of the identity card numbers. We are only the users. The problem should be solved by the creator,” he said.
At present, the first two numbers on an identity card only denotes the last two digits of a card holder’s year of birth.
Information on the identity card meanwhile forms an integral part of a voter’s detail, such as gender, address and voting areas – in the electoral roll.
Jailani confirmed that similar problems – dead voters or voters born before 1900 being mistaken as underage voters – could still crop up in future, but added that it was improper for him to suggest how NRD could resolve the matter.
Killing ‘phantoms’
Last month, EC chairperson Abdul Rashid Abdul Rahman said allegedly deceased voters undergo strict vetting before the names are struck off.
“We have had people telling us that so-and-so is dead without showing any proof… We cannot take action based on such information. We need some sort of proof like death certificates before we can remove the names,” said Abdul Rashid, according to the New Straits Times.
The EC has frequently been the target of criticism over its failure to ensure that the electoral roll is kept up to date which opposition parties claim can lead to abuses such as ‘phantom voting’.
The public can scrutinise the fourth quarter supplementary electoral rolls for 2007 at post offices and district offices throughout the country beginning tomorrow until Jan 18.