PETALING JAYA: Malaysians who sign up as voters between Jan 1 and March 31 this year may only get to cast their ballots if the general election is held after mid-May.
Voter registration is a year-long affair but the electoral roll is only updated once every three months.
According to the Election Commission’s (EC) website, it typically takes six to eight weeks to certify the update every quarter.
This means that the names of those who sign up in the first quarter of this year will only be added to the roll sometime between the middle and the end of May.
Those who decide to wait it out and register only in the second quarter of this year (April 1 to June 30), meanwhile, may have to wait as long as until mid-August before they can vote.
The Parliament’s five-year term expires on June 24; a general election must be held within 60 days of Parliament’s dissolution.
Malaysians who have yet to register may feel time is running out but the EC’s advice is that it’s never too late to sign up.
“No one knows when the Prime Minister will seek a dissolution of Parliament despite all the speculation on election dates.
“Just register. If you don’t do it now, you may lose out if the predictions don’t come true,” said an EC official.
The official pointed out to a false claim that was circulated on social media some months ago that claimed Malaysians who failed to register by Sept 30 last year would not get to vote in the next general election.
This prompted EC chairman Tan Sri Mohd Hashim Abdullah to issue a statement advising the public not to believe in such rumours.
But as it turned out, the 212,042 Malaysians who went ahead and registered anyway in the fourth quarter of last year (Oct 1 to Dec 31) are now well on their way to being included in the electoral roll.
Their names and details are currently up on public display for 14 days from Jan 17 to 30.
According to the EC official, a public hearing would be held to hear any objections against the names.
The EC will then make its findings known and allow appeals to be heard if there are further objections.
These names will then be included in the list of voters.
There are now 14.8 million Malaysians who are registered as voters as of the third quarter of last year.
In addition, more than three million Malaysians above 21 years old have yet to register as voters.
Those who wish to register as voters can do so at any EC office or post office.
More information is available at www.spr.gov.my.