Niki Cheong is blogging

Election blues

Running around today, I totally forgot that I hadn’t read the newspaper. I also forgot that the article on the BRATs programme which I am currently facilitating was out. So after I returned from an exciting trip on the Penang-Butterworth Ferry (the original subject I was going to blog about – later, perhaps), I took a walk out to buy a copy of today’s The Star.

The first thing that caught my eye (as it should) is the main headline:

A fresh voter list?

The subhead read:

Everyone will have to register anew under EC’s proposal.

My first thought was, “What??!!”

I mean it had to be a joke right? Apparently not. The article quotes EC chairman Tan Sri Abdul Rashid Abdul Rahman saying that because the current electoral roll has come under heavy criticism, there is a need for a fresh list.

“The new registration exercise will be held if the Government accepts the proposal,” he was quoted as saying.

Poor man. Damned if he does something, damn if he doesn’t do anything.

I’m sure this is the first of a few other proposals to come, considering the kind of attention the EC has got over the past few months. Of course, to be fair, talk of a ‘rigged’ electoral roll have been going around way before he became chairman but you have to admit that it hit him pretty hard this year.

The thing is, in my humble opinion, the idea is ludicrous. How can he really belief that this would be a good way to improve the image of the EC?

Who’s to say, if the current roll is indeed fixed, that the new ones will be taint-free? What would they be doing now that’s different from the last time. And if what he’s been claiming all this while, that the roll is as accurate as it can possibly be, then why is there the need to change it?

Besides, wouldn’t it be easier to just spend all the two years (the Tan Sri said it will take that long to re-register the 10.9mil voters currrently on the list) updating the list? Maybe spend the resources that this “fresh list” project would take on just examining and fixing the current list?

In a country where there are so many ways to identify an individual – birth certificates, MyKad, driver’s license, school certs, credit cards, passports, death certificates etc etc etc – surely you will be able to fix it if you had the right resources?

It may sound overly simplistic, but I do think that it’s really simple.

I think that this new idea is rather problematic – I worry that you will not be able to inform all the current 10.9mil to re-register (and many people will show up at the next election – whenever it will be held – thinking that they are already on the list). The mass media does not reach out to everybody, and if the argument is that one will be able to contact them through letters/phone calls etc, then wouldn’t that be a verification process already?

I met so many people – youths especially – during the recent General Election who thought that you could just walk up to the booth, show your MyKad and vote. This will surely confuse people more.

Of course, lots of people have their own opinions with regards to the issue. The Star is running a poll to see what you think, click here to vote. Among the blogs I’ve seen, I Know What You Think feels that there are political motives involved.

Sorry for being cynical, but I wonder if maybe this is just ‘cosmetics’, a way to show that the EC is doing something to fix their reputation (whether or not the allegations are true), but they know something we don’t … as in this exercise won’t happen because … jeng jeng jeng … a snap election might be called soon.

I’m just assuming but along with this statement, the EC chairman also talked about how he has instructed his officers to be ready for any snap polls that might be called (there have been, after all, lots of talk about it). I know this is very conspiracy theorist but you never know, right? :o)

Susan Loone’s Blog said something funny about that …

“But me thinks, it is only for this reason a snap poll will be called – to make use of the 48,000 bottles of indelible ink!”

Heh heh. That cracked me up.

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