The government has agreed in principle to provide allocations for the Election Commission (EC) to implement the biometric voter verification system, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said yesterday.
Notwithstanding the funds, he said, it was important to ensure the system was running smoothly when the time came for it to be implemented. “I want the EC to ensure the system’s integrity and functionalities in line with its objective,” he told reporters after meeting Barisan Nasional component party leaders. He hoped that the system would be in place in the coming election but said that it was up to the EC whether they had sufficient time to develop the facility.
Asked about the amount of funds for the purpose, Najib said, it would depend on the discussion between the EC and the Finance Ministry. Najib said the system was to ensure transparency and fairness in the country’s elections. !”The implementation of the biometric system will be able to counter allegations about the existence of phantom voters,” he said.
The prime minister also said that BN was committed to implementing clean and fair elections and did not need the illegal organisation, Bersih, to remind it.
“If improvements are needed, we will put them in place. We will strive to do our best; even developed countries are not doing this,” he said, adding that there was no need for people to demonstrate to call for free and fair elections because the government would ensure improvements to the system from time to time.
The prime minister noted that there were times when the ruling coalition was winning many votes and losing them at other times though the BN still held the majority. “Had we been able to ensure victory, ministers would not have lost in elections and we would not have lost states (to the opposition),” he said.
He added that the opposition had not raised any issue about unfair elections in the aftermath of the 2008 polls.