Written by Chua Sue-Ann of fz.com
KUALA LUMPUR (March 19): DAP has warned that over a quarter of Sabah's parliamentary seats, mostly in the state's east coast, have high concentrations of dubious voters.
DAP election strategist Ong Kian Ming told a press conference today seven of Sabah's 25 parliamentary constituencies have more than 10% of voters with "problematic" identification cards.
The seven seats are: Kalabakan (16.3%), Silam (15.2%), Tawau (14.4%), Putatan (11.5%), Semporna (11.3%), Batu Sapi (11.2%) and Libaran (10%).
Many of these seats are located in Sabah's east coast, which is currently a security hotspot following the invasion by Sulu militants who are attempting to revive an old claim on Sabah.
Sabah has 25 parliamentary seats and has been traditionally viewed as a "fixed deposit state" for the Barisan Nasional.
The opposition and civil society groups have been expressing concerns over the integrity of Malaysia's electoral roll, particularly the prevalence of voters registered based on dubious identification documents.
Election strategists say that having a high proportion of problematic voters in a particular constituency could throw to a wildcard in the upcoming elections as 5% to 10% of votes is enough to swing the results one way or another.
Ong, who heads the Malaysian Electoral Roll Analysis Project (MERAP), has recently conducted an analysis of the impact of issuing of identification cards to immigrants on Sabah's electoral roll.
On a state-wide average, MERAP's analysis found that about 6.3% voters in Sabah were found to have problematic identification cards based on the electoral roll for third quarter 2012 and data gleaned from the Sabah Royal Commission of Inquiry.
MERAP's analysis is based on evidence given by Ruslan Alias of the National Registration Department (NRD) during the royal commission of inquiry in Sabah that has been mandated to investigate the granting of citizenship to immigrants under a programme called "Project IC".
Ruslan revealed a list of 130,459 "problematic" old identification card numbers, where 113,850 cards had improper or incomplete details and the remaining 16,699 had been cancelled.
Ong said the Sabah RCI has not dealt with item C of the commission's terms of reference, which is to enquire whether Sabah's immigrants – holding blue identification cards, temporary identification receipts or unlawful citizenship – have been registered on the electoral roll.
DAP is demanding that the NRD and Election Commission immediately remove these dubious voters from the electoral roll given that the general election is expected to be called soon.
Ong added that MERAP will be releasing more analysis over the coming weeks and will seek another meeting with the EC.
Sabah DAP chairman Jimmy Wong said the party is deeply concerned that the high number of immigrants in Sabah could displace Sabahans in their own land.
"The recent Sulu invasion in Lahad Datu and Semporna shows how serious the impact of 'Project IC'," Wong said.
Wong said Sabah DAP has launched its "Save Sabah, Save Malaysia" campaign to encourage Sabahans to return en masse to vote in hopes that this could neutralise the potential impact of dubious voters.
"If we cannot save Sabah, we cannot save Malaysia. After all, 'Project IC' began in Sabah and has spread to the rest of Malaysia," Wong said.