By Shannon Teoh
KUALA LUMPUR, May 25 — More than nine in 10 voters in peninsular Malaysia want the electoral roll cleaned up before the general election that must be called within the year, according to a survey conducted just days before tens of thousands joined the April 28 Bersih rally for free and fair polls.
Independent pollsters Merdeka Center found that nearly half of the 1,019 registered voters surveyed believed the registry contained dubitable entries that included foreigners.
“Nearly all — 92 per cent of voters — want the electoral roll to be cleaned up before elections are held. Only 44 per cent of the respondents expressed confidence that the election process in Malaysia was free from irregularity and abuse.
“In the same survey, 48 per cent of the respondents agreed that the electoral list was inaccurate and ‘embedded with doubtful voters such as foreigners, people who were transferred without their knowledge or people with multiple identities’,” the research house said.
The April 28 rally was the third in five years calling for electoral improvements.
After last July’s demonstration, Datuk Seri Najib Razak announced a raft of reforms including a parliamentary select committee to look into enhancing the electoral system over a period of six months.
However, early last month, Bersih called for another protest, saying the recently-concluded polls panel had fallen short of its demands, which include a cleaning of the electoral roll, postal voting reform, free access to media for all parties, and the use of indelible ink.
But Merdeka Center said in a press statement today that its survey conducted between April 14 to 26 found only 39 per cent of respondents understood the electoral reform movement’s key demands.
Fewer still, 34 per cent, believe the bipartisan committee on electoral reforms was a sincere attempt at electoral improvements.
Although tens of thousands descended onto the capital last month, the event was marred by clashes between police and protestors.
This led the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) to accuse the opposition of attempting a violent coup by hijacking the rally.