EC targets civil servants in voter drive

By G Manimaran (themalaysianinsider)
PUTRAJAYA, Oct 6 — The Election Commission (EC) targets to sign-up more than 400,000 civil servants to become new voters before the next general election.
The Malaysian Insider understands that a whopping 30 per cent (420,000) of the 1.2 million strong in the government service are unregistered.
When registered this segment would have a significant impact on whether Barisan Nasional (BN) or Pakatan Rakyat (PR) form the next administration.
The EC says it wants a 100 per cent civil service sign-up, which would increase the number of presently registered voters by 10 per cent.
They’ve already asked all government agencies to forward the names of non-voters.
“With this, we are confident that we can register every civil servant as a voter,” said the EC’s voter registration panel chairman, Datuk Zainal Abidin Mat Said.
It is understood that the move started on August 1.
However Zainal Abidin also said that he was not yet able to provide exact details as to the number of unregistered voters in the civil service.
“Maybe in a few month’s time we can determine the exact number of who who has yet to register… and make sure that they do it,” said Zainal Abidin.
There are currently 1.2 million civil servants working for the federal government.
Since last June, the EC has managed to bring down the number of unregistered voters from 4.3 million to 4.2 million.
There are currently 11,381,193 registered voters nation-wide, with 191,970 new voters registered during the second quarter of the year.
“I am confident that we can register all of them (civil servants) in six month’s time,” said Zainal Abidin.
A rise of civil servant voters will be a crucial turning point, as both coalitions begin preparations for the next general elections, speculated to be held as early as next year.
PR has accused civil servants under its state administration of being pro-BN in the past, as seen in a recent verbal spat between Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng and state development officer (SDO) Nik Ali Nik Yunus .
But Cuepacs secretary-general Ahmad Shah Mohd Zin has claimed that the EC’s move to register civil servants as voters was a “little too late” and should have been done 10 years ago.
Ahmad Shah said that at least one out of three per cent of civil servants were still not registered voters.
“Cuepacs is of the opinion that this should have been done 10 years ago… The EC’s move is a little too late,” he told The Malaysian Insider.
He feels they should have been registered upon joining the service.
“For instance, if a civil servant wants to be confirmed, he or she should have been asked to register as voters back then…it should have been made a criterion in the job application.
“This could have done during the first and third year after someone joins the civil service. At this point of time, 80 per cent of government employees join the public sector when they are 21 years old,” said Ahmad Shah.