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M'sia sees big jump in new voters in 7 states
Publication Date : 14-02-2013
Malaysia's 13th general election promises to be especially lively in seven politically “hot” states that have recorded the highest number of new voters.
The electorate in Selangor, Johor, Perak, Sabah, Sarawak, Kelantan and Kedah each grew by at least 150,000 voters, all of whom signed up after the 2008 polls.
Of the seven, Selangor recorded the biggest jump with the number of new voters rising 29.06 per cent – from 1,565,494 in 2008 to 2,020,500 in the third quarter of last year.
They are part of the more than 2.4 million new voters nationwide who have registered since the last general election, an increase EC chairman Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof described as “unprecedented”.
“The rate of increase in voters has never been this high, meaning that our efforts to boost the electorate are working,” he added.
Abdul Aziz said the number of voters for the coming election would most likely be about 13.3 million.
The total would be higher if polling were to be held near the end of June when those who had registered in the first quarter of this year would also be included in the roll, he added.
“We are finalising the 2012 fourth quarter electoral roll to be gazetted this month, and which will contain voter applications up to December 31 last year,” he said.
“Those who register as new voters between January 1 and March 31 will only be able to cast their ballots at the next general election if polling is held after the roll is next updated sometime in May.”
Abdul Aziz expects voter turnout to be between 70 per cent and 75 per cent, just as in past general elections.
The electorate totalled 10.9 million during the 2008 polls and grew slowly to 11.1 million in 2010 before rising sharply by about 700,000 each year. This was when the EC allowed political parties to register voters.
Deputy EC chairman Wan Ahmad Wan Omar said: “The big increase is a positive development for Malaysia as it shows growing awareness that voting is an important responsibility all eligible citizens should exercise.”
Wan Ahmad acknowledged that appointing political party representatives as assistant voter registrars had helped bolster the electorate.
The EC declined to say how many new voters each party had registered since 2008 although it is understood that both Barisan Nasional and Pakatan Rakyat have been actively registering new voters.