Watchdogs dispute EC's 'clean roll' claim

Azreen Madzlan | Feb 11, 08 (Malaysiakini)
Two election watchdogs today expressed concern over the statement by the Election Commission (EC) that there have been no ‘phantom voters’ during the past 11 general election.
EC secretary Kamaruzaman Mohd Noor told the New Sunday Times that the ‘phantom voters’ issue was created by political parties and the allegation has never been substantiated.
However, Coalition for Clean and Fair Election (Bersih) and Malaysians for Free Election (Mafrel) disagreed.
Mafrel chairperson Malik Hussin told Malaysiakini that based on the watchdog’s studies, the serious discrepancies detected in the electoral roll could compromise the integrity of the upcoming general election and undermine the democratic process.
While he conceded that ‘phantom voters’ is not a legal term and is used by political parties, the real issues, according to him, are “fraud and impersonation.”
Voters who cast their ballots using identification documents of deceased people transgress the law and should be brought to court.
“We are concerned why EC has not taken any action on this issue. EC should do something to eliminate irregularities in the electoral rolls ahead of the coming general election,” he said.
Bersih has proof
Meanwhile, Bersih secretariat member Dr Dzulkifli Ahmad claimed that the watchdog has proof that the electoral roll is far from clean.
“The Bersih team checked the electoral roll and found that in the third quarter of 2007, 20,643 people above the age 107 and 10,513 people above the age 108 are found in the electoral roll .
“In Selangor alone, on the gazetted list, Bersih found 312 voters above the age 100 registered last year and another 104 voters earlier this year,” he said.
Dzulkifli said another ‘surreal’ case is a voter who was registered in Sembulan, Sabah but transferred to Bukit Bintang in Kuala Lumpur.
He stressed on the importance of cleaning up the roll as this will affect millions of voters since the general election is rumoured to be around the corner.
“We are worried because EC has not updated the voters on this situation.” he said.
Dzulkifli said Bersih will lodge a police report regarding phantom voters in Selangor tomorrow and hold a press conference to prove the existence of phantom voters in the upcoming general election.