Mandate ‘voting where you live
Mandate ‘voting where you live

Mandate ‘voting where you live’

PETALING JAYA: Making it compulsory for Malaysians to vote where they live ensures that political representation will more accurately reflect the demographics, interests, and needs of each constituency, leading to fairer and more effective governance, says Dr Azmi Sharom.

The Election Commission’s (EC) acting chairman, who spoke in his personal capacity, said the first-past-the-post system is supported by those who vote where they live.

“The point of the system is so that the people pick their representative [based on] where they live, who can reflect their interest and demands to the government of the day,” he said in urging for compulsory registration of the latest address on the MyKad for those who relocate to other residential areas or states.

He was speaking on reforms needed for the country’s electoral system after the launch of the G25’s book titled G25 Statements (2014-2023) here yesterday.

Also present were G25 co-founder Tan Sri Mohd Sheriff Kassim and Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (Ideas) founding president Tunku Zain Al-’Abidin Tuanku Muhriz, who had earlier delivered a keynote address.Azmi said a significant number of voters in the country no longer reside in their original communities.

For example, he said in the parliamentary constituency of Tanjong in Penang, 31,900 residents are eligible voters aged 18 and above.

“But the number of registered voters there is 52,800. This means that there are more than 30,000 voters who do not live in Tanjong.

“The same goes for the Seputeh parliamentary constituency where 245,900 adults live.

“However, it has only 124,800 registered voters in the constituency.

“It gets crazier at the state constituency level. In Padang Kota, Penang, there are only 3,800 adults living there but the constituency has 50,400 registered voters. Its voters do not live there,” he pointed out.

Azmi said this is a problem because elected representatives would be serving constituencies without the proper resources, such as in areas where the residents vastly outweigh the number of voters and the other way around.

“The Constitution needs to be amended to make it compulsory so that you vote where you live. It will lead to a better electoral system representation. [But] this requires serious political will,” he acknowledged.

Azmi also proposed that the appointment of EC commissioners be made more transparent, in response to a question on several NGOs’ call to look into the process of appointing the chairman.

“The system is very much behind closed doors.

“I’m just proposing more transparency…. Many people are also making the same suggestion.

“There has to be a slightly more transparent method with which we choose our commissioners, not just for the EC,” he said.

Azmi said there had been suggestions for the appointment of commissioners, including of the EC, to be done via parliamentary select committees.

“For this to be done seriously, we need a government that is serious in wanting to see these changes,” he added.

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