KUALA LUMPUR – August 29, 2019: Eligible voters, who have yet to register themselves have been urged by the Election Commission (EC) not to wait for the implementation of the automatic registration system.
EC chairman Azhar Azizan Harun said they should instead take advantage of the online registration system launched last month.
“Voters who are of voting age (21 years old) today can register normally through post office or make use of the newly launched MySPR Daftar portal,” Azhar said to The Mole in an interview.
All it takes for an eligible voter to register online is internet access, a valid mobile phone number, an email address, the front image of one’s MyKad and a selfie with one’s Mykad.
When queried on why the automatic registration system, recently approved by the parliament can take up to two years to be implemented as mentioned by his deputy Dr Azmi Sharom, Azhar said there is actually no definitive timeline for the system to be in place.
“To implement an IT system takes time. From tender process to budgeting and then to the actual implementation could take up to 30 months.
“However, EC had proposed to upgrade its information and communication (ICT) system since last year.
“Realistically, I would want the system to be up and running 18 months from now. That is my personal goal and I have promised to engage both the government and opposition on this,” said Azhar.
Further elaborating, Azhar said the challenge is not only on the system implementation but also to prepare EC for a substantial increase of voters in the next general election
“Let’s say an election is to be called in 2023, there will be about 7.8 million new voters. Of that, four millions of them are already eligible today but are still unregistered while the other 3.8 million voters will be made of new voters in between 18 and 21 years’ old.
“I would like to keep the election date to just one day and because of that, EC would need substantial increase in budget, more staffing and even consider opening polling centers at university grounds. This is not just a system upgrade,” he said.
When asked on why those above 18-years-old cannot yet be registered as voters, Azhar said that it is because the parliament wanted all three elements of the recent amendments to the election law be executed simultaneously.
He was referring to the Constitutional Amendment Bill 2019, which sought to allow automatic registration of voters, reduce the minimum voting age and the age one who can contest in an election to 18.