Jan 16 is the day: EC to add new voters into electoral roll, including 1.2 million from Undi18 bloc

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Election Commission deputy chairman Dr Azmi Sharom speaks to Malay Mail during an interview in Putrajaya January 10, 2022. ― Picture by Shafwan Zaidon
Election Commission deputy chairman Dr Azmi Sharom speaks to Malay Mail during an interview in Putrajaya January 10, 2022. ― Picture by Shafwan Zaidon

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 12 — Malaysia is going to have roughly an additional 1.2 million voters aged between 18 and 21 following the full implementation of the automatic voters’ registration system soon, the Election Commission (EC) has said.

Its deputy chairman Azmi Sharom told Malay Mail that the commission has finally completed the system to enable those aged 18 and above to vote, which will see an additional 5.8 million voters at any election called after January 16.

“Out of the 5.8 million new voters, there are approximately 1.2 million from the Undi18 bloc, while the remaining are 21 and above,” he said in a recent interview.

He said the move would also increase the number of registered voters in Malaysia by around 40 per cent — from the current 15.8 million to a total of 21.1 million voters.

Thanks to the automatic registration system, Azmi said all Malaysians who are 18 and above — except those in prison and mental hospitals — can participate in any election without the need to go through the manual registration process.

According to the Constitution, people who are in prison and mental hospitals or have lost their citizenship are not eligible to vote in Malaysia.

Azmi, however, urged eligible voters to ensure the registered address on their identity cards or MyKads is current to avoid any objections when they participate in elections.

“You can just log into MySPR Semak, to cross-check your eligibility online,” he said.

“All you have to do is to key in your IC number and you will be able to see your particulars along with your voting district, constituency, etc.”

Azmi said if any eligible voters cannot find their name on the website, it may mean they do not have a clear address on their MyKad.

“If that happens, get in touch with us and we help you fix the problem and put you on the electoral roll,” he added.

According to Azmi, the automatic system helps EC to save time when adding new eligible voters on the electoral roll.

“Last time the process used to take three months but now the new process is done monthly,” he said.

According to him, the EC will automatically add new eligible voters who turn 18 to the electoral roll on the 16th of every month.

“So if you turn 18 this month, you can expect to be on the electoral roll on the 16th of the subsequent month,” Azmi said.

Although the new system may make the voters’ registration a breeze, Azmi said the sudden surge of new voters brought many challenges to the EC over the past few years.

“The most pressing challenge for us at the moment is to make sure that our data is correct,” he added.

According to him, the implementation of the system required careful coordination with several agencies such as the National Registration Department, Health Ministry and Prisons Department to ensure the data is highly accurate.

Azmi also noted that the sudden surge of 40 per cent in new voters means the commission has to be prepared for the logistical challenges if any elections are called from now onwards.

“We have to find new venues based on the number of voters to ensure the voting process runs smoothing within the given time,” he said.

“Although not all the eligible voters may turn up for voting, we always have to be prepared for the 40 per cent increase in the number of voters in coming elections.”

Last year, Putrajaya gazetted the Bill that among others will allow 18-year-olds to vote on November 25, which then took effect on December 15.

The High Court in Sarawak had ruled on September 3 last year that the federal government and Election Commission must take steps to implement Undi18 by the end of 2021.

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