PETALING JAYA: A redelineation exercise is necessary to correct any imbalance in the apportionment of votes if automatic registration of voters is allowed.
Coalition for free and fair elections Bersih 2.0 said the combination of lowering the voting age to 18 and allowing automatic registration would add another eight million voters to the electoral rolls.
Given the higher population in urban areas, this will likely tip the balance of power further in favour of rural constituencies, according Bersih chairman Thomas Fann.
He pointed out that there are urban constituencies that already have 10 times more voters each than rural constituencies. “The high number of new voters will widen the disadvantage (against urban voters) further,” he added.
Political analyst Wong Chin Huat said this would make it even more pertinent to launch a redelineation exercise.
Fann also said that there must be assurances that the data from the National Registration Department is “trustworthy”.
“The addresses given by citizens must be truthful and standardized. For this, the NRD requires proof of residence,” he added.
Fann and Wong were commenting on Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s statement on Monday that Pakatan Harapan (PH) has agreed to allow automatic voter registration.
Last Thursday, PH tabled a Bill to amend Article 119 (1)(a) of the Federal Constitution to lower the minimum voting age to 18.
In exchange for their support, the opposition indicated that they wanted automatic registration and an amendment to Article 47 to lower the minimum age of electoral candidates to 18.