Election Commission gets a ROSE for moving in the right direction

Ann Teo

KUCHING, March 16: Online voter registration, which the Election Commission (EC) is currently developing, is a timely initiative that will give eligible citizens a convenient means to register and to exercise their voting rights later.

Rise of Sarawak Efforts (ROSE) said this effort of the EC, which is expected to be launched sometime this year, also reflected the determination of the Commission.

“We, in Sarawak, are hopeful that this additional method of voter registration will enable approximately 500,000 unregistered voters here to get themselves registered as a voter online without having to travel to the EC’s office or post office,” said ROSE chairperson Ann Teo in a statement today.

Further, she added that the implementation of online voter registration would take on a greater significance when coupled with the political will to lower the voting age from the current 21 years to 18 years.

“Although there are arguments against this, generally these initiatives will see an increase in youth participation in democracy and the electoral process,” she emphasised.

While Sarawak will be facing a state election by June 2021 and pending the implementation of this new method, Teo, thus, urged all registered and eligible Sarawakians to avail themselves to the current methods of voter registration and get themselves registered soonest possible as the process takes between four and six months.

Recently, EC chairman Azhar Azizan Harun also announced that his office was looking at two modes of voting, namely online voting (e-voting) and using the electronic polling machine, which requires the voter to be present at the polling centre.

The EC will put forward their recommendations in due course.

“All these are steps in the right direction … that of becoming institutionally independent, impartial, effective and one that enjoys public confidence,” Teo commented. — DayakDaily