Malaysia’s Opposition and an election watchdog submitted objections today to the redrawing of some constituency boundaries, which they said would favour Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak in a general election due by August. The Election Commission is reviewing electoral boundaries for more than half of Malaysia’s 222 parliamentary seats. Opponents of the redrafting say it is unconstitutional and could skew voting in favour of Najib’s ruling coalition, the Barisan Nasional (BN). The government denies the accusation.
Articles about voting issues in Malaysia.
Malaysia’s electoral authorities are rushing through new maps that critics say will further tilt the bias in favour of the long-ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) at a general election expected within the next few months. Despite 16 months of protests and a record number of objections and court cases to declare the Election Commission’s (EC) proposals illegal, Prime Minister Najib Razak is expected to table new maps in Parliament next month, the last session scheduled before polls must be held. The EC’s redelineation exercise came under fire when a first proposal was unveiled in September 2016 for worsening malapportionment – the difference in the number of voters between wards – and shifting voters to ensure more victories for BN, which surveys say is at its most unpopular since Datuk Seri Najib took over nine years ago.
A group of Malaysians are hesitant about going to the polls this year – because it is too dangerous for them. “To be honest, even I myself previously didn’t want to vote,” said Nisha Ayub, a prominent transgender rights activist, when asked about her voting experience in the general elections. “That is not because I don’t know my rights, it’s that I just don’t want to go through the process. You have to queue and to give your IC (identity card). All things about the IC are a problem to us,” she explained.
In an election featuring many age-old familiar faces, an increasingly engaged but alienated younger generation of Malaysian voters is committing to #UndiRosak, a social media sparked campaign that advocates spoiling ballots rather than voting for the candidates on offer. The youth vote is a key swing constituency, and both sides of Malaysia’s political divide are vying to win its hearts and minds ahead of what is expected to be a tight electoral race later this year. With many young voters plan to spoil rather than cast their ballots, the no-vote campaign could swing the result in unexpected ways.
The Election Commission (EC) website where voters can check their voting constituency and polling station by entering their MyKad number is not secure, tech blogger Keith Rozario said. The creator of sayakenahack.com, aimed at helping victims of a massive data breach to find out if they were affected, said in a blog post that the EC site was marked as “insecure by Google Chrome because it doesn’t even have TLS”. TLS or Transport Layer Security is meant to ensure privacy and data integrity between two communicating computer applications. In the case of a voter checking their status on the EC website, TLS would ensure that data travelling between the voter’s browser and the EC on a WiFi or data connection used would be encrypted. Without TLS, he said that someone searching for their voting information on the EC website could have their data “transferred in clear across the internet for anyone in the middle to see”.
A group of youths have started a campaign to lower the eligible voting age from 21 to 18 years old, saying young adults were the largest age group in the country. Calling themselves Undi18, the six youths kicked off a signature campaign last Saturday to generate support for their call to give young Malaysians a bigger say in the country’s direction. “As of now, we have several hundred signatories for the petition, but ideally, we are looking at between 5,000 and 10,000 petitioners in the next five months before we submit it to the Prime Minister’s Office,” director of Undi18, Tharmelinggem Pillai told Malay Mail Online. Although conceding it was unlikely that an amendment to Article 119(1) of the Federal Constitution to lower the voting age can be done in time for the next general election, he said the group was hoping for this to occur by the 15th general election.
Malaysia: Election Commission chairman says Malaysia not ready for automatic voter registration | The Star
The extra sensitive job scope of the Election Commission is among the factors for Malaysia not being ready to implement the automatic voter registration system. EC Chairman Datuk Seri Mohd Hashim Abdullah said the commission did not want to be blamed for any problems arising from any changes related to voter registration. “There may be some things which we do not deem serious, but is taken seriously by certain parties. Especially when we make changes. “If we are not prepared, but we proceed to do the changes, then many issues will arise,” he said when he appeared as a guest in the Slot Khas Ekspresi programme on Bernama Radio with the discussion “Voting and the Responsibility of a Citizen”.
The Election Commission (EC) could be remodelled after its counterparts in India and New Zealand for greater checks and balances in the way it runs elections, the Society of the Promotion of Human Rights Malaysia (Proham) suggests. Proham chairman Datuk Kuthubul Zaman highlighted the public’s perception that the EC lacked independence, noting among other things that the voting regulator is parked under the Prime Minister’s Department and have its members appointed by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong on the prime minister’s advice. “So I think we need to learn lessons from different democracies,” he said at a roundtable discussion last night. Kuthubul gave the example of New Zealand’s division of election-related responsibilities, listing various features such as its chief electoral officer is a staff under the minister of justice instead of the prime minister, while electoral enrolment centres tasked with handling voter registration and voter list maintenance.
The word in Putrajaya these days is that the next general election will be held as early as next year although the term of the present administration will only end in May 2018. All indications point to the possibility of an early poll and the order has been given to heads of the Barisan Nasional component parties to activate their campaign machinery soon. One component party has already notified its chosen candidates to enable them to get down to work in the respective parliamentary constituencies and to work with the respective division heads to get operations started. Last week, former Deputy Prime Minister Tun Musa Hitam predicted that the Barisan will hold the next general election “very soon,” saying this had to be done before Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s new party, Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia, gained a foothold.
Malaysia: Automatic registration won’t work if Malaysians don’t bother to vote, EC chief says | Malay Mail
It would be impractical to implement automatic voter registration now or in the near future as there are still many Malaysians do not vote during elections, Datuk Seri Hashim Abdullah has said. The Election Commission (EC) chairman said it was more necessary now to spread awareness among Malaysians on the importance of casting their ballots, adding that the automatic registration of voters would only be feasible once the electorate understands the importance of participating in an election. “Automatic voter registration is not a solution. If we do this, where is the benefit when in this current situation only 70 per cent of Malaysians go out and vote, and the remaining 30 per cent do not do so,” Hashim told Malay Mail Online in a recent interview.