‘Prepare for drastic voter increase’

Ann Teo

KUCHING: The automatic registration of 18-year-old citizens following the amendment to the Federal Constitution will increase registered voters in Sarawak from 1.22 million in the 14th General Election in 2018 to 2.04 million in the next general election.

This drastic increase of 820,000 voters from the roll in GE14 was pointed out by Persatuan Pemangkin Daya Masyarakat (ROSE) yesterday.

It urged the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government and relevant agencies to implement the automatic voter registration for the coming  12th Sarawak State election due in 2021.

Ann Teo

“Of equal importance, if not more, is that the great increase in the electorate of generally young people – who are viewed as apathetic and who have never voted before – means that there is a great need for them to know their democratic rights and roles as citizens and voters,” stressed ROSE president Ann Teo in a press statement yesterday.

She stressed that it was imperative for relevant agencies and stakeholders to deliver comprehensive voter information and education starting from the secondary school level.

“This should include civic and citizenship education,” said Teo.

ROSE called upon the PH government to seriously look into addressing mal-apportionment by conducting another round of delineation of voting constituencies in accordance with the provisions of the Federal Constitution, especially in light of the explosion of electorate size by as much as 7.8 million.

“We applaud the historical bi-partisan efforts in the making of laws that affect our country and the lives of the people and hope this will be a forbearer of the style of law and policy-making in the times to come,” said Teo, adding that this included the ones to restore the status of Sarawak and Sabah.

“Now, it is up to the experts in the agencies concerned like Election Commission (SPR), the National Registration Department (JPN), Royal Malaysia Police (PDRM), and the Armed Forces to sort out the technicalities and roll out the changes in the law,” she added.