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You should have foreseen this problem

20 October 2022

These past few days we have read various statements from the leaders of PBS, Star, PBRS and SAPP expressing their worries on the sudden increase of new voters in Sabah.

Why are they only highlighting this issue now? They should have foreseen this problem way before the implementation of the Undi-18.

Even before the implementation of Undi-18, UPKO has consistently through various forum and seminars organized by the Election Commission highlighted this issue. Though UPKO support the implementation of Undi-18, we have time and again emphasized and highlighted the need to establish a mechanism to identify and filter out those who had obtained Mykad through dubious means and existed in the National Registration Department’s (NRD) records. The 2012 RCI had revealed that there are illegal immigrants who obtained Malaysian Identification card and voted in several general elections.

For UPKO, it was a battle fought alone in highlighting the issue of dubious citizenship. PBS, Star, PBRS and SAPP did not came forward then to show support and echo the demand for the NRD and the EC to ensure the automatic voter registration for those aged 18 and above for Sabah are genuine Malaysians. These parties were part of the federal government then and still are now.

The EC had explained in several of the forums that legally, they are not empowered to scrutinize NRD records which will be used to automatically register Malaysians aged 18 and above as voters in the electoral roll because that power lies with NRD.

So these leaders who are making noise now did not do their homework then and failed to highlight and address this issue. How can you claim to lead and champion Sabah rights when you lack prudence in foreseeing this problem before?

That is why UPKO has been consistent and persistent in highlighting the need to recognised and acknowledged that there are four (4) categories of foreign migrants problems in Sabah, i.e., (i) illegal immigrants, (ii) refugees, (iii) Stateless person and (iv) those who had obtained Malaysian identification card by dubious means.

The root of the huge sudden increase of new voters in the electoral roll could possibly lies with the fourth (iv) category. Therefore, it is pertinent that each of the categories to be acknowledged before workable and effective solutions can be found. There is no one-size-fits-all solution to this long-standing problems. The key lesson for the rest of the leaders is to comprehend the existence of the four categories. So the question remains, do they understand the differences?

Nelson W Angang

UPKO Secretary General


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