Electoral reform group Bersih slammed the excuses by the Election Commission (EC) in refusing to implement automatic voter registration as "laughable".
"EC chief Mohd Hashim Abdullah's statement is the latest in a slew of laughable excuses from the EC to not implement automatic voter registration, which include a lower voter turnout, a less updated system and adversely affecting the voter objection process, and the issue of voters not living at their addresses as stated in their IC," Bersih said in a statement today.
The Bersih steering committee was responding to Mohd Hashim's statement yesterday that it was not ready to implement automatic voter registration as many issues would arise and it did not want to be blamed for them.
Bersih said the excuses were embarassing as tackling such matters is part of EC's responsibility.
"If the EC were held back by a fear of repercussions, then nothing will change.
"If Mohd Hashim wants to be taken seriously, then he should explain to the public the difficulties of automatic voter registration process, instead of hiding behind ambiguous answers to shun their duty and responsibilities," it said.
Bersih said under the current system, some four million eligible voters are still unregistered.
It added that the EC's efforts to manually register them under the current system has also been appalling.
"Their lack of action has left NGOs like Bersih and political parties to fill the gap by creating the hype and setting up voter registration booths, all while battling EC’s uncooperative attitude," it said.
Bersih said automatically registering a voter when they reach the age of 21 will hasten the process and remove unnecessary barriers.
"Automatic voter registration will be electronically linked to the National Registration Department (NRD), which will eliminate the lack of addresses, duplicate entries, and remove deceased persons and dubious entries from the electoral roll.
"Automatic voter registration is a cleaning process to correct a flawed electoral roll and incompetence," it said.
Bersih said the EC, instead of paying lip service to free and fair elections, should get its act together.
"The EC’s schizophrenic attitude when it comes to voter registration, combined with its bulldozing through of the current unconstitutional redelineation exercise, can only be read either as complete incompetence or a deliberate denial of voters’ rights," it said.- Mkini