View Full Version : SPR: Putrajaya proposes biometric system to divert attention from indelible ink.
24th July 2011, 09:59 AM
Putrajaya agrees to fund voter verification system (http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/malaysia/article/putrajaya-agrees-to-fund-voter-verification-system/)
July 23, 2011
An official checks for traces of indelible ink on a voter’s hand during parliamentary elections in Tbilisi May 21, 2008. — Reuters pic
KANGAR, July 23 — Putrajaya has agreed to pay for a voter authentication system that will quell talk of phantom voters, a key demand of outlawed electoral reforms group Bersih 2.0
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said today the system was one of the initiatives undertaken by the Election Commission (EC) to ensure transparency in the country’s elections.
“The implementation of the biometric system will be able to counter allegations about the existence of phantom voters,” he said at a meet-the-people programme at Dewan 2020, here today, according to Bernama Online.
Bersih 2.0 had sought to send a memorandum to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong over its eight demands for free and fair elections, after the EC said it was too busy to meet the movement, a coalition of 62 groups.
However, the EC later agreed to meet Bersih over its demands, but on the condition they stopped the July 9 rally. The commission also said most of the demands involved amendments that needed parliamentary approval.
Yang di-Pertuan Agong Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin later intervened and Bersih agreed to gather at a stadium offered by the Najib administration.
But Putrajaya reneged on the offer and threw a security cordon around Kuala Lumpur to prevent the rally from taking place.
Bersih estimated 50,000 people turned up to face tear gas and water cannons but police said there was only a 6,000 crowd. Police arrested nearly 1,700 while scores were injured and one died of a heart attack in the rally.
26th July 2011, 12:17 PM
Can you trust the bio-metric system? Watch this video to find out.
---------- Post added at 11:56 AM ---------- Previous post was at 11:12 AM ----------
Monday, 25 July 2011 08:43
Why the BN fears indelible ink and automatic registration (http://malaysia-chronicle.com/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=16409:why-the-bn-fears-indelible-ink-and-automatic-registration&Itemid=2)
Written by Maclean Patrick, Malaysia Chronicle
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Back in 2008, the use of indelible ink was mooted and shelved at the eleventh hour. This shocked election observers and when questioned as to why the ink was not used, even-though a batch was bought from India, the Election Comission along with the Barisan Nasional government said in unison that it violated the citizens right to cast vote.
It is a rather mystifying reason, yet even-though the ink was not used in the 2008 election, it did not deter the public’s move to grant great gains to the opposition. If you take into account popular vote and not seat count, Pakatan Rakyat was almost dead even with Barisan Nasional.
And now with the 13th General Election looming - in the very near future - the issue of transparency in the voting process has surfaced again. The main contention for all is the existence of phantom voters. Voters who are registered in multiple places and even dead voters who resurrect just in time to cast their votes and then return to sleep for another five years.
Such is the fallacy in the Malaysian voting process that citizens have banded together to support the Bersih movement, that has an eight point recommendation to ratify some of the problems with elections in Malaysia.
In an obvious move to pacify angry voters, the EC has stated that they will put into place some of the recommendations by Bersih. Yet, there is one that remains a hotly contested issue - the use of indelible ink.
The EC said it is considering the use of a biometric system for voters’ verification in the general election. EC Chairman Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof said the commission would first have to scrutinize the system before the implementation.
When the issue of why indelible ink was not used, the EC chairman added,”The proposal also contravenes Article 119 (1) of the Federal Constitution which guarantees every citizen’s constitutional right to vote in an election, and that right cannot be denied unless the registered voter is disqualified under the law.”
Yet, until today, no-one knows how indelible ink can contravene a person’s right to vote in an election. And the EC still insists it is independent from the BN political masters! It looks like the reason for such strong objection to indelible ink may only reside in the minds of the BN and its obedient Election Comission.
Article 119 (1) of the Federal Constitution also does not indicate how ink can disqualify voters:
Article 119. (1) Every citizen who—
(a) has attained the age of twenty-one years on the qualifying date;
(b) is resident in a constituency on such qualifying date or, if not so resident, is an absent voter; and
(c) is, under the provisions of any law relating to elections, registered in the electoral roll as an elector in the constituency in which he resides on the qualifying date, is entitled to vote in that constituency in any election to the House of Representatives or the Legislative Assembly unless he is disqualified under Clause (3) or under any law relating to offences committed in connection with elections; but no person shall in the same election vote in more than one constituency.
As mentioned in Article 119(1), disqualification is subject to Clause (3) which states:
(3) A person is disqualified for being an elector in any election to the House of Representatives or the Legislative Assembly if—
(a) on the qualifying date he is detained as a person of unsound mind or is serving a sentence of imprisonment; or
(b) having before the qualifying date been convicted in any part of the Commonwealth of an offence and sentenced to death or imprisonment for a term exceeding twelve months, he remains liable on the qualifying date to suffer any punishment for that offence.
So what was the EC Chairman alluding to when he said that indelible ink contravenes Article 119(1) and violated the citizen’s right to cast votes?
The use of indelible ink is practiced in most countries and it does not contravene on the constitution of these countries. India, the biggest democracy in the world; has been a long time user of indelible ink.
It is inexpensive and easily implemented, especially when dealing with rural areas. The voter checks their name on the electoral sheet, takes the ballot paper and then gets their pinky finger marked with this ink. Where are the security risks? And how does that deny the voter his right to vote?
The EC in 2008 did come up with a scenario that voters can be inked, by force, before they go to the polling centre thus voiding them from voting.
It is a plausible situation but then, an intelligent voter would report the incident to the police, prove themselves still eligible since their name on the electoral sheet has not been cross out, and still cast their vote. And further-more, a vote is only spoiled if the ballot paper is marked wrongly, not when a pinky finger is inked before hand.
Instead it is the Election Commission that has contravene and violated a Malaysian citizen’s right to vote.
An citizen upon reaching the age of 21 is eligible to vote. It is their constitutional right to do so. Yet, the Election Commission has constantly evaded this issue. Instead, it has refused to grant automatic voter registration for those reaching the age of 21.
Article 119(1) is very clear on this matter, if you are 21 and reside in a constitution; you are thus, eligible to vote in that constitution.
Any move to create automatic registration would mean a revamp of the electoral listings and the creation of check and balance practices to ensure that voters are registered where they reside. This would mean a cross-check with the National Registration Department, to ensure that only legit citizens of Malaysia are registered as voters.
Automatic Voter Registration would be a better system to put in place than biometrics, for it covers two areas in the voting process; ensuring that all Malaysians can cast votes and guaranteeing that only Malaysians can cast votes.
Indeed, above the whole issue that biometric is better than indelible ink and the cost of these two authenticating mechanisms to test for eligible voters; the EC is hiding the fact that they themselves are the ones contravening the Federal Constitution of Malaysia.
- Malaysia Chronicle
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Tuesday, 26 July 2011 09:25
Biometric system more prone to frauds: PAS MPs (http://malaysia-chronicle.com/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=16504:biometric-system-more-prone-to-frauds-pas-mps&Itemid=2)
Written by Malaysia Chronicle
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The Election Commission's proposal to use biometric system is susceptible to manipulation by those who have the access to its system, according to two PAS members of parliament.
“The system is easier to be manipulated by those who control it. It’s the people who control the system. In fact, if it is implemented, it’s possible that more frauds will happen," said Pokok Sena MP and PAS vice president Mahfuz Omar.
He also lamented that a recent revelation that thousands of foreigners were being offered citizenships in a bid to prepare them to vote at the next general election had yet to be investigated.
"Giving citizenships to foreigners is now being done large-scale. It is very likely that illegal immigrants will be registered as voters,” he told Malay daily Sinar Harian.
Earlier, the EC's proposal got almost instant approval from the government, with prime minister Najib Razak stating his readiness to allocate budget for the system.
Mahfuz however questioned the government for continuing to resist the use of indelible ink during election, saying that the biometric system could not at all guarantee the prevention of double voting by the same person.
“The question is not about the weakness of the biometric system. In fact, it is strange, why the government until now is still reluctant to use indelible ink.
"The claim that it will deny the right of the voters is not valid because the indelible ink system is more transparent to ensure that a person could only vote once,” said Mahfuz.
Mahfuz stressed that with the implementation of the biometric system, "those not qualified to vote will also be registered as voters and the ruling government will win with votes from foreigners, not Malaysians."
"So, we want Election Commission to clean up their electoral lists to avoid easy victory to some using the illegal way,” added Mahfuz.
Earlier, National Registration Department, under heavy criticism over allegations that its database was not up to date and frought with errors, claimed that its database could not be altered and as such would render the biometric system "foolproof".
“We are, however, resigned to the fact that no matter what we do to improve the system, we will still be accused of this and that,” said NRD director-general Jariah Mohd Said.
'Why afraid of ink?'
PAS's Kuala Selangor MP Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad argued that the biometric system was only known to the operating officers but not to the people and the election workers.
“This will raise transparency issues, because the main issue in the election is the absence of transparency,” he said.
Dzulkefly said the biometric system was expected to cost a fortune.
“Deputy prime minister Muhyiddin Yassin announced that the general election is just months away. If they insist on implementing it, the government will not only face with high costs but also the task of training [in a short period of time]," added Dzulkefly.
“Why so afraid to use indelible ink when it has been proven successful in country which has the largest democracy in the world, which is India,” he asked.
28th July 2011, 06:46 AM
Whenever UMNO proposes something complicated to replace a simple system, you can assume they are up to no good. For them, cheating in elections is a Standard Operating Procedure. They are too cowardly to fight a Free and Fair Election because they know that the chances are high that they can lose.
Biometric system makes EC all-powerful, says Pakatan (http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/malaysia/article/biometric-system-makes-ec-all-powerful-says-pakatan/)
By Clara Chooi July 27, 2011
KUALA LUMPUR, July 27 — Pakatan Rakyat (PR) leaders alleged today that a biometric voter verification system would only eliminate checks and balances in the present election process and grant the Election Commission (EC) absolute power over ballots cast on polling day.
In a joint statement here, the leaders said this was because the EC would be the only authority with exclusive access to the biometric system, allowing it to manipulate the voting process.
Polling and counting agents from political parties, they claimed, would no longer be required to monitor the polling process.
“They will phase out the involvement of party representatives to monitor the voting process. So there will no longer be any checks and balances.
“Voters will come in, present their MyKads, get their thumbprints scanned and that’s it. So there will be no need for checking agents because we will not have access to the system which verifies these voters anyway,” PKR strategy director Rafizi Ramli told The Malaysian Insider when contacted.
He added, however, that if too many parties were allowed to access the biometric system, it would similarly be open to further abuses.
“But if only the EC has access, then who is to say that there is no manipulation?” he pointed out.
In the statement, signed by Rafizi, DAP’s Liew Chin Tong and PAS’s Dr Mohd Hatta Ramli, the leaders reiterated their stand that the use of indelible ink would still be the cheapest way to clean up the election process.
They said that the opportunity for political parties to send their agents to monitor the voting process is the key criterion of a clean and fair election.
“Therefore, any measures which aim to eliminate the involvement of political parties are contrary to the will of the people expressed through Bersih 2.0. The EC must return to Bersih’s eight demands.
“The country’s electoral system needs an overall reform, not minor amendments which will not only cost hundreds of millions, but also raise new issues to fuel public anger,” they said.
The PR leaders argued that the new computerised system would also be subject to technical glitches and security risks. This, they pointed out, is likely why the EC itself had admitted that the system would not be ready in time for the 13th general election.
“More important, however, is the inability of the biometric system to prevent phantom voters or double-voting because it is using the wrong approach, i.e. those with identification cards are considered valid voters ... this would allow many illegal immigrants with identification cards to vote in GE-13,” they said.
The leaders also claimed that the prime minister and the EC’s support for the proposed biometric system proves that the government has admitted to discrepancies in the current election process.
“This proves that the Barisan Nasional (BN) leadership cannot afford to deny the voices of those who joined Bersih 2.0’s rally,” they said.
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Tuesday, 26 July 2011 23:20
Biometric is BN's latest decoy: EC bosses must step down (http://malaysia-chronicle.com/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=16551:biometric-is-bns-latest-decoy-ec-bosses-must-quit-to-enable-cleanup&Itemid=2)
Written by Dana Kay, Malaysia Chronicle
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Opposition leaders are fearful that the Election Commission’s proposal to use the Biometric system will lead to more abuse. The biggest fear was that the government would do anything by 'hook or crook' to stay in power to the extent of selling the country to ‘foreigners’.
State assemblyman for Batu Lintang, See Chee How who is also Sarawak PKR publicity chief, is not surprised that the Election Commission is thinking of the Biometric system to coax the people to calm down after Bersih.
“The strength and unity of the people in Bersih has got the government worried and that they wanted to pacify the people first. It’s just like the first Bersih rally where they suggested the indelible ink and then the whole thing was dropped just before the election,” he told Malaysia Chronicle.
Starting at the top
See also expressed his concern on the Project M, the allegation of granting citizenship to immigrants from neighbouring countries, the majority of whom were illegal. Identity cards were given to these foreigners in exchange for their votes for the ruling parties.
“These are all the abuses of how the government runs the election. If they are sincere, they should have engaged with the organizers of Bersih and discussed on how things are going to be done. Get feedback from Bersih. After all, Bersih has worked out eight points. To have a clean election means the game is over for BN, thus their reluctance to do so,” he added.
See said the first thing the government could do to show it was sincere was to get rid of the present leaders inside the Election Commission, and let it be run as a truly independent body.
“At the moment, the top guns at the EC speak like they are UMNO politicians; so how fair do you expect the election to be?” he stated.
MP for Kuching, Chong Chieng Jen expressed his concern that Indonesian workers, especially those in oil palm plantations, would be given citizenship in exchange for votes for the Barisan Nasional.
“Do not forget Najib’s infamous statement, by hook or crook, we will protect Putrajaya. And I can tell you, he is prepared to protect Putrajaya with all the crooked ideas he can think of,” Chong told Malaysia Chronicle.
Chong said the DAP’s stand is that they do not believe in the Biometric system. “It is too costly and subjected to abuses. Why not use the indelible ink. It is time the BN government stop making excuses."
The Pakatan Rakyat has gone on alert for the Project M and would be monitoring both the National Registration Department and the Election Commission frequently.
“We are not going to let them turn Sarawak into Sabah. What happened to Sabah 20 years ago, where illegal immigrants were given identity cards to vote for the BN? Dishing out identity cards to foreigners to stay in power, how low can they get? The greed of this government to stay in power had made genuine Sabahans suffer immense losses socially, politically as well as economically,” said Chong.
"We won't allow it to happen in Sarawak. How can we let foreigners take over our State? Pakatan will fight it to the end.”
It does appear that what the EC is doing its best for the benefit of the ruling coalition to win by a large majority. As suggested by the pundits, it may be a good idea to get rid of the present leadership at the EC,
The commission should be run by an independent body, using the principles expounded by the Bersih committee for a fair and just election. An important body, which is responsible for the choice of electing the country's next government, should be independent and not run like a government department.
- Malaysia Chronicle
29th July 2011, 10:30 PM
Watch this very carefully. It sounds a lot like the Sabah Project M, whereby hundreds of thousands of Filipinos and Indonesians became instant Muslim Bumiputras and the Kadazans woke up to find themselves the new minority. It can happen to the Malays here.
So concerned for foreign workers and illegals. What about our Penans and Sarawak natives? What about our Stateless Indians who are still holding Red i/cs?
Biometric registration extended indefinitely (http://malaysiakini.com/news/171396)
Jul 29, 11 1:25pm
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The biometric registration of legal foreign workers scheduled to end on Sunday has been extended indefinitely.
Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said the programme would run in tandem with the registration of illegal foreign workers set to begin on Monday.
"Employers should not delay registration," he told a news conference in Kuala Lumpur today.
Hishammuddin, who had handed over identification documents to Indians at the Putra World Trade Centre, said the registration of foreign workers was important for the government to be prepared to handle cross-border crimes often linked to immigrants.
“The rise in the number of unaccounted foreign workers can undermine national security, and then it will be too late,” he said when asked to comment on the request by employers to have the registration deadline extended.
Also present at the event were Human Resources Minister Dr S Subramaniam, Deputy Information, Communications and Culture Minister Maglin Dennis D'Cruz and Home Ministry secretary-general Mahmood Adam.
'Not a question of extension but resolution'
Replying to a question on the extension period, Hishammuddin said it was not a question of extension but resolution, adding that the earlier the registration was completed, the earlier the matter could be resolved.
“In other words, the biometric registration will go on until further notice. I have learned that setting a deadline will only result in everyone coming to register at the last moment,” he said.
Asked about the possibility of foreign workers not registering for lack of a deadline, Hishammuddin said the authorities could decide on deportation.
"They cannot blame the government if they do not register and are deported," he said.
Deportation is the last resort under the programme of six measures (6P) which begins with registration. The others are legalisation, amnesty, monitoring and enforcement.
The 6P programme is aimed at gathering data on illegal immigrants, such as their place of work, employer and salary in the attempt to overcome social and crime issues often linked to these people.
Since the start of the biometric registration on July 13, some 390,404 foreign workers engaged by 26,894 employers in the country have responded.
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One has to stand back in admiration at such capacity for lies.
Opposition bent on opposing government decisions: Najib (http://www.malaysia-today.net/mtcolumns/newscommentaries/42442-opposition-bent-on-opposing-government-decisions-najib)
Friday, 29 July 2011 Combat
(Bernama) - Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said the opposition would always object to whatever decision made by the government to improve the country's electoral system.
He said when the government wanted to introduce the biometric system for voter verification in the general election, the opposition said using the indelible ink would be better.
"And I believe if the government wants to use the indelible ink, the opposition will say the biometric system is better.
"They just want to reject whatever we do. They want to make it controversial and to find fault. It's not a constructive position on their part.
"They are not looking for something that can improve the system. They just want to find fault in the system," he told reporters after attending the 1Malaysia Youth Gathering at the Pendang Mini Stadium today.
He said the government decided to use the biometric system "as it is a scientific system that cannot be manipulated compared to the indelible ink."
"For the indelible ink, you can identify the source... you can get from other sources too and do the same thing. It's a loss to the people who cannot go (to vote)," he said.
Earlier, in his speech, Najib said the opposition's action of disputing the use of the biometric system was only politically-motivated.
He said he was not willing to be prime minister and Barisan Nasional (BN) chairman if he had won in the general election where the results had been manipulated.
"My friends (in BN) would also not want to be federal and state government leaders if they were not chosen the right way and according to the wishes of the people.
"We will again leave our fate to the people when the time comes. We are only prepared to be leaders if we are legitimately chosen by the people."
Najib said BN had never been afraid of a fair general election, and if BN had been able to manipulate the results, it would not have lost (five states in the last general election).
"After the dark incident in the country's history on May 13, 1969, my late father (country's second prime minister Tun Abdul Razak Hussein) had absolute power.... had parliamentary and cabinet power. He had executive power and the power to make laws, but a BN leader was not power crazy.
"When calm returned, he (Razak) gave back the power to the people and held elections. We won big but at other times, we lost some too," he said.
Najib said BN had accepted election results that had favoured the opposition because it respected the Federal Constitution, so the opposition too must respect the Constitution.
He also said that the July 9 illegal rally in Kuala Lumpur was only aimed at tarnishing the country's image abroad, causing the whole world to be confused or siding the demonstrators.
Najib said the rally was organised when no one had before questioned the credibility of the country's electoral system and there had also been no evidence of any malpractice.
Also present at the gathering attended by thousands, were Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein, Kedah Umno liaison chief Datuk Ahmad Bashah Md Hanipah and International Trade and Industry Deputy Minister Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir, who is also state Umno liaison deputy chief.
23rd August 2011, 12:39 PM
I love Dr. Lim's choice of words. His precision is breathtaking.
Illegal worker figures: Home minister an ignoramus? (http://malaysiakini.com/news/173811)
Lim Teck Ghee
Aug 23, 11
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The statement by the Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein that the presence of more illegal workers compared with legal ones is a cause of concern and could undermine national unity reveals that he is either an ignoramus or an idiot.
Did Hishammuddin expect many less illegals, given the super-efficiency of his ministry and the other government agencies sharing responsibility on this vital matter of securing our borders against unauthorised intrusion, staying in the country?
According to the current ongoing exercise, as of last Friday, a total of 2,088,358 foreign workers had been registered, of whom 1,135,499 were illegals.
Probably everyone else in the country knows that this number is an underestimate and that a very large number are still awaiting processing or are avoiding being included in the count altogether.
'Plumbing new lows'
Since his appointment in 2009 as the home minister, Hishammuddin has been lurching from one self-inflicted débâcle to another.
From bending over backwards to defend the indefensible conduct of demonstrators in the infamous cow head incident to his most recent use of repressive force against the Bersih rally, he has shown a standard of leadership of this important ministry, which must be plumbing new lows or matching those lows attained by Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
Perhaps Hishammuddin has not had time to study and understand the situation with illegals in Malaysia, given the so many other important distractions posed by alleged anti-national and possibly terrorist groupings such as those Parti Sosialis Malaysia members members recently taken in under the Emergency Ordinance for sporting Che Guevara and other communist attire.
Or, for that matter, the Bersih supporters who needed tear-gassing and perhaps even a big clout on their thick skulls for upsetting the traffic flow on a weekend; or the MoSC supporters who want to tear down the lily white and incorruptible reputation of one of the country's most trusted and respected leaders through their Kuching walk rally aborted on “friendly police advice”.
'Addicted to foreign labour'
By the way, is Hishammuddin in any way related to Taib Mammud (right)?
If he has still not been briefed by his ministry officials on the foreign labour issue, this quick summary of facts, figures and other considerations may be useful:
The 10th Malaysian Plan document has a chart showing that the number of foreign workers in the country exceeded over two million in 2008. This figure has most likely increased rather than decreased.
The current hi-tech, high cost biometric exercise seems to have registered only half of all workers with permits and probably fewer than half of those without.
The presence of so many foreign workers is due not only to economic factors but also to socio-political factors that everybody in the country, except the non-Malay BN parties, seems to be aware of.
Thanks to 'enlightened' BN policies, the Malaysian economy and society is now hopelessly and irredeemably addicted to foreign workers.
The great majority of foreign workers work a lot harder for a lot less than their Malaysian counterparts. They deserve to be treated with fairness and respect, and there should be no witch hunt to blame them for self-inflicted socio-economic and political ills.
The profits in the foreign labour market have generated pervasive corruption among all levels of the police force, the Immigration Department, Rela, manpower agents and other agencies – public and private.
The extortion of payments, services and loyalty from this marginalised segment and attempts to use them as a pawn in the demographic and racial power game will continue, whatever changes in policy and new stances are adopted for public consumption.
In the views of some who have observed the home minister closely, this graduate from the University of Wales and London School of Economics is not an ignoramus or idiot. He is a political animal aiming for the top position through scrupulous or unscrupulous means.
According to the latest hot news in the Internet, there is more at stake behind Hishammuddin's new found enthusiasm for pursuing the registration of foreign workers, such as the disclosure that the new biometrics is the cash cow for the coming Umno elections.
Much of this hot news cannot be verified but readers can visit the website for details.
DR LIM TECK GHEE is director of the Centre for Policy Initiatives.
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