Perak EC ruling on address change contravenes law

Humayun Kabir (Malaysiakini)
The Perak Election Commission (EC) is acting contrary to election laws by disallowing the Pakatan assistant registering officer (ARO) from registering existing voters who are transferring from a different locality, says DAP.
DAP Tronoh assemblyperson V Sivakumar (left) said the Perak EC has issued a new ruling that only post offices or the EC can register voters who want to change their home addresses.
It says the ARO only has the authority to register new voters.
“This ruling is absurd as the Election Laws – Election (Registration of Electors) Regulations 1971 Section 13(1) states that we have the power to do so,” said the former Pakatan Perak speaker, at a press conference at state DAP headquarters today.
Section 13(1) states: Any elector who has already registered, desires to transfer his registration to a different locality in which he is qualified to be registered, to forward his application to the registering officer of the registration area or the assistant registering officer of the registration unit in which he is qualified as an elector.
The Tronoh assemblyperson said that many voters are working, and cannot come during office hours to either the post office or the EC office to change their home addresses. So, they come to his service centre after office hours.
He says the voters get irritated when they are told it cannot be done there, and are reluctant to persist with the address change if they have to go elsewhere.
‘Discouraging voters’
“So, the EC is discouraging voters from registering their change of home addresses and thus denying them the opportunity to vote,” pointed out Sivakumar.
“There are 500,000 eligible voters in Perak who should be encouraged to register themselves and we should cut through this kind of red tape.”
DAP Bercham assemblyperson Sum Cheok Leng added that his state constituency has 127,000 eligible voters but only 30,000 have registered as voters with the EC.
According to Sum, Bercham is a new housing estate that has 75 percent Chinese residents, 13 percent Malays and 12 percent Indians.
Sum fears that this new ruling by the EC may discourage the mostly new residents of Bercham from registering their new addresses, as most them work and can only do so after office hours.