SPA: Expedite automatic voter registration implementation

Sarawak Patriots Association (SPA) secretary David Hii Chin Loung.

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KUCHING, March 27: The Sarawak Patriots Association (SPA) today expressed disappointment over the Election Committee (EC)’s announcement pertaining to the implementation of the automatic voter registration (AVR) and the lowering of the voting age to 18 years old which can only be done by Sept 1, 2022.

SPA secretary David Xavier Hii Chin Luong in a press statement today said SPA viewed the explanation by the EC stating that “the implementation of the Movement Control Order (MCO) nationwide had affected the EC’s plans” as unacceptable.

“We would like to remind the EC that the historic bill was passed and gazetted in 2019. It is almost 2 years since it was passed, clearly the EC had ample time to implement the changes.

“Furthermore, the EC stated last year that their preparations were expected to be completed by July 2021,” he said.

On the same note, Hii opined the EC owes an explanation to the public particularly those within the 18-20 years old group as to why there is such a delay in the implementation.

According to him, this delay is depriving those 18 to 20 years old individuals of their rights to vote in an election which can be held anytime soon due to the country’s political instability.

“Every eligible person is entitled to vote for it is their constitutional and democratic right to do so. The EC being an executive body should expedite the implementation without any further ado,” he added.

At the same time, Yii also hoped that there is no political interference in this matter which may have resulted in the delay of the implementation.

He pointed out that the Parliament has passed the law and the EC’s role is merely to administer and execute.

“The right to vote is a fundamental human right and they have a right to take part in the democratic process of electing a government of their choice when the time comes,” he said. — DayakDaily