PUTRAJAYA: It will be difficult to implement the automatic voters' registration system in the country because it will have a significant impact on the overall electoral system in Malaysia, says Election Commission (EC) chairman, Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof.
He said according to Article 119 of the Constitution, anyone who wanted to be a voter must apply as a new voter and it clearly gave the right to citizens to choose whether to sign up or not.
As such, if the proposal for the automatic voters' registration system was approved, then Article 119 should be amended in advance to enable amendments to the Act and other related regulations to be made, he said.
"It should be noted that this amendment requires the support of two-thirds votes in Parliament and can only be achieved if all parties agreed to it.
"Moreover, if the system is implemented it will also affect revision, demands and protest against the Electoral Roll," he said in a statement Wednesday.
Elaborating, Abdul Aziz said if the automatic voters' registration system was executed, it would create problems for individuals who had not updated their address on their identity cards after moving elsewhere.
He said the voters' registration system adopted by the EC was based on the resident's address as stated in their identity cards and updated by the National Registration Department (NRD).
"If voting is not mandatory, the number of people going out to vote is expected to decline by about 50%, taking into account the average voter turnout in previous by-elections and general elections."
In addition, he said the proposal would see large-scale new voter registration giving rise to the issue of phantom voters and the EC would finally be blamed by the discontented parties.
"The automatic voter registration issue should not be manipulated as race politics, as the EC will continue to review electoral process development for electoral reforms in this country," he added. - Bernama