KOTA KINABALU August 2, 2011: It is possible to rid the electoral roll of phantom voters, said Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) president Datuk Yong Teck Lee.
He said this is because the legal mechanisms to protect the integrity of the rolls are available in the Federal Constitution, the Elections Act 1958, the Elections (Registration of Electors) Regulations 2002 and the National Registration Act 1959.
According to Yong in a statement yesterday, the first step is to remove the disease by taking action against those who conspired in issuing dubious citizenship documents to foreigners.
He said this was done in 1995 when several operatives were detained under Ops Kenal under the Internal Security Act (ISA) for the manufacturing of fake identity cards.
This was followed by the regularisation exercise under the auspices of the National Security Council in 1996 that allowed genuine foreign workers to remain and the forcible deportation and voluntary exodus of illegals.
Yong said that was the tipping point in Sabah’s longstanding efforts to solve the problem of illegals and the existence of phantom voters.
“But if the Election Commission pretends that there is no problem, then there is no hope of solution.” he said.
In the 1980s, during the PBS state government era, the then Election Commission secretary Datuk Hj Abdul Rashid, had notoriously claimed that talk of phantom voters was ‘coffee shop talk’,” he said.
“So, at the time, with the help of Institute of Development Studies (IDS) headed by Dr Jeffrey Kitingan, I headed an Electoral Rolls Committee that scrutinised the entire electoral rolls and found 33,000 cases of duplicate and triplicate ICs in the Sabah electoral rolls.
Some genuine locals found that their IC numbers are shared by strangers, including the embarrassing case of the missing ‘German boy’ who somehow also got registered as a voter,” Yong, a former chief minister, added.
He said the issue of fake ICs and phantom voters had re-surfaced in recent years.
Last week, a Taiwanese investor complained that a MyKad had been issued in his name to defraud him.
On the part of SAPP, Yong said the party pledged to override the perennial problem of dubious MyKads and protect genuine Malaysians in Sabah.
“When a SAPP State Government is formed, it will issue Sabah ICs to Sabahans and other genuine Malaysians permanently residing in Sabah,” he added.