'EC struggling with Umno-BN paranoia'

By FMT Staff
KUALA LUMPUR: Umno-Barisan Nasional’s paranoia that new voters will neutralise its power-base in the 13th general election is frustrating all quarters.
According to PAS information chief Idris Ahmad, the ruling party’s inconsistent attitude towards resolving the voter registration issue is a telling sign.
He said Umno-BN treats the Election Commission “like a football to be kicked around aimlessly.”
“On the one hand, it says the EC can decide and then someone in the system says EC has no powers… there are so many inconsistencies.
“BN is afraid to resolve the voter registration issue because a higher voter registration would be a threat to Umno-BN’s future,” he said.
Idris was referring to Umno supreme council member Mohd Puan Zarkashi’s suggestion that the EC implement an automatic voter registration system.
He said the system should be implemented with the cooperation of the National Registration Department (JPN), whereby every 21-year-old is automatically registered as voter.
Idris said Puad’s suggestion was not new, as Pakatan Rakyat had long since proposed this to EC chairman Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof.
Waste of public funds
“But the suggestion was rejected by Minister in Prime Minister Department Nazri Aziz in a reply in Parliament.
“Nazri Aziz said the country practiced freedom of association, of expression and freedom to make decision and the rakyat could not be forced to register or vote,” said Idris.
The EC then came up with another proposal to increase payments to assistant registrars who successfully register new voters. They proposed payment be from RM1 to RM3 per voter.
But Puad has since rejected this proposal saying it is a waste of public funds and has instead reverted to Pakatan’s original suggestion that the EC carry out automatic registration.
“The BN government itself is inconsistent and does not have a clear understanding of its own decisions.
“But PAS is firm on its proposal that registration be made automatic for all upon reaching 21 years of age.
“We are also prepared to help the EC register new voters,” he said adding that EC must ensure fair treatment to all and not discriminate against Pakatan parties.
He said it was also essential that the EC revert quickly on the status of earlier submissions of new-voter registration lists.