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Half of Voters Do Not Trust KL Poll System
26-May-2012, Jakarta Globe
By Carolyn Hong - Straits Times

Kuala Lumpur. Almost half of Malaysian voters polled recently said they did not trust the country’s election system, and believed the electoral roll had dubious voters on it.

An overwhelming majority of respondents — 92 percent — support cleaning up the electoral register before elections, expected within months.

The survey was carried out last month by the independent Merdeka Center, which polled 1,019 registered voters in Peninsular Malaysia.

Just about half of them said they were not confident that the election process was free from irregularities, and about the same number believed that the 12.6 million-voter electoral roll had dubious voters including foreigners, voters with multiple identities or legitimate voters transferred to another constituency without their knowledge.

“The poll was concluded a day before the Bersih 3.0 rally,” Merdeka Centre said in a statement. It was referring to the April 28 rally for electoral reforms that brought tens of thousands to the streets. The rally started out peaceful but turned chaotic after police and protesters clashed.

The rally’s organizers had wanted to hold the protest at Dataran Merdeka, but police sealed off the historic square and warned the public to stay away.

It was the third such rally since 2007, when the protest helped swing votes to the opposition at the 2008 general election six months later.

The next election is not due until April next year, but expected sooner.

The Merdeka Centre survey showed the electoral reform pressure group Bersih, which organized the rally, had clearly got its message through. Bersih is backed by the opposition.

However, fewer than two in five respondents said they understood the key demands of Bersih, which included allowing overseas Malaysians to vote.

Almost half of them said they did not trust a bipartisan parliamentary committee set up to recommend electoral reforms.

It was, they said, an attempt by the government to cover up the problems or divert attention. Chinese and Indian respondents were the most mistrustful of the electoral process, compared with Malay voters.

Former premier Mahathir Mohamad yesterday weighed in on the Bersih rally, which he described as “preparation to reject the general election results if the opposition failed to take power.”

“Their defeat would be followed by continuous violent demonstration so that the election results can be rejected and another government set up at the behest of the opposition,” he wrote in his blog chedet.cc.

“Later they would try to hold an election again which can be manipulated by them.”

Reprinted courtesy of Straits Times



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