All voters are 'Malaysian' and not profiled by race

By Jason Gerald John (NST)
6 February 2008

MALACCA: Voters who are registered with the Election Commission are no longer divided according to race but are listed as “Malaysian”.

Unlike in previous elections, where the EC figures for a constituency were divided into the number of voters and their racial background, the latest electoral roll, which was gazetted yesterday, only states the number of voters in a particular constituency and not their race.
A source said the move to identify voters as “Malaysian” was done to help the government create a Malaysian identity.
“We are all Malaysians who are eligible to vote when we reach the age of 21. We do not see why we should divide voters by race into Malays, Chinese, Indians and “Others” in the electoral roll.
“We are all Malaysians and we should be identified as Malaysians.” The source also said that when the country’s leaders spoke in overseas functions, they would say “Malaysian voters” elected them.
“Even Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi says that the BN government was given the mandate by Malaysian voters when he addresses international forums.
“If this is the case, then why are we dividing Malaysians by race in the electoral roll?”
It is understood that the decision not to profile voters according to race was made by EC chairman Tan Sri Abdul Rashid Abdul Rahman.
Meanwhile, state EC director Dzulkifli Abdul Rahman said Malacca would have 28,677 more voters in the coming general election than the election in 2004.
“In 2004, we had 342,917 voters in the state but with the electoral roll that was gazetted yesterday, I believe we will be using the latest figure of 371,594 voters for the coming polls,” he said.
Malacca’s six parliamentary seats are Masjid Tanah, Alor Gajah, Tangga Batu, Bukit Katil, Kota Melaka and Jasin.
It has 28 state seats, namely Kuala Linggi, Tanjung Bidara, Ayer Limau, Lendu, Taboh Naning (Masjid Tanah); Rembia, Gadek, Machap, Durian Tunggal, Asahan (Alor Gajah); Sungai Udang, Pantai Kundor, Paya Rumput, Klebang (Tangga Batu); Bachang, Ayer Keroh, Bukit Baru, Air Molek (Bukit Katil); Kesidang, Kota Laksamana, Duyong, Bandar Hilir, Telok Mas (Kota Melaka); and Bemban, Rim, Serkam, Merlimau and Sungai Rambai (Jasin).
According to the latest figures, Kota Melaka has the highest number of voters (84,805), followed by Bukit Katil (75,777), Tangga Batu (60,188), Jasin (56,121), Alor Gajah (54,097) and Masjid Tanah (40,606).
On how much hustle and bustle there was in the state over the polls, Dzulkifli said:
“We hear that the general election is near but things are rather calm in Malacca.”
However, Dzulkifli said that the state EC was all geared up.
“We have 4,716 personnel who will be involved in the general election. We have six returning officers, comprising district officers in all six districts and 40 assistant returning officers.
“There will be 689 voting channels in 206 polling stations in the state. The furthest ballot box would come from Kuala Linggi in the Masjid Tanah constituency.
“For nomination and official tallying of votes, there will be six centres, namely Japerun Lendu (Masjid Tanah), Japerun Machap ( Alor Gajah), Media House (Bukit Katil), SM Teknik Merlimau (Jasin), SM Padang Temu (Kota Melaka) and SK Seri Tanjung in Kampung Gelam (Tangga Batu).”
Dzulkifli said it would cost the EC RM2.24 million for the general election in Malacca.
“We will be on standby 24 hours once the prime minister dissolves parliament.”
He also said neither Barisan Nasional nor the opposition had objected to the latest electoral roll for Malacca, which was put on display last month.