EC admits mistake for not informing voters of relocation

By Clara Chooi (Malaysian Insider)
KUALA KUBU BHARU, April 19 — The Election Commission (EC) admitted today it had failed to inform the 228 villagers of Kampung Tanjung in Batang Kali that they were no longer voters in the Hulu Selangor constituency.
This means that come polling day this April 25, the 228 voters would not be allowed to cast their ballots.
The commission’s deputy chairman Datuk Wan Ahmad Wan Omar told a press conference here that the voters were now constituents in the Rawang state seat, which is within the Selayang Parliamentary constituency.
“It’s true that we have not informed them… but that is why we have the list of their names here with us. I am afraid that some voters may make trouble when they find out on polling day that they can no longer vote in Hulu Selangor,” he said at a press conference here today.
He noted that the EC only discovered this after the final electoral roll was identified for the purpose of the coming by-election.
“The roll could have been updated by the state ECs two months back or earlier, but we only discovered it when we were deciding on the by-election date,” he said.
He noted that in view of the last-minute rush of duties, the EC had not been able to find the time to inform the voters.
Wan Ahmad also said that the EC had issued a directive two weeks ago to all the state EC offices nationwide, calling them to immediately inform each individual voter of any changes in their voting system.
“They are supposed to tell each and every one of them the moment they discover things like this — that their constituencies were shifted elsewhere,” he said.
When asked why the EC still failed to do this despite the directive, Wan Ahmad said: “Well, we did not expect there to be a by-election, did we? When the MP here passed away, the state apparatus was not ready and we had to rush to do a lot of things.
“I hope the voters can understand that. It is not like their voting rights have been taken away.
“I agree we should inform them. But then, that is why we are doing this announcement now. We are taking this opportunity now because this issue was already raised (by the PKR),” he said.
PKR complained yesterday that the EC had wrongfully removed the voters from the electoral roll without any explanation.
Wan Ahmad said that the removal was done for the purpose of correcting the boundaries between the country’s constituencies from the different localities to the voting districts, state constituencies, and Parliamentary constituencies.
“In the past, the boundaries were drawn out manually. Now, we have the technology of the Geographical Information System, which was used after the 11th general election (in 2004).
“Since that election, we informed all the relevant state EC offices to undergo the process,” he said, adding that the process should be completed by year-end. “Some of the states like Selangor, have completed their mapping,” he said.