Bersih: NRD's Mismah-gate clarification unacceptable
Kuek Ser Kuang Keng
Aug 5, 11
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The National Registration Department (NRD)'s explanation of the 'Mismah-gate' is unacceptable as it fails to address the public's concern, said Bersih 2.0 chief Ambiga Sreenevasan.
Therefore, she supported Pakatan Rakyat MPs' call for an emergency parliamentary sitting this month in order to seek answers for the many questions the scandal's raised.
"We haven't actually had any meaningful answer... there has to be accountability on this issue," Ambiga (left) told Malaysiakini during an interview yesterday.
"The answer that they have given us so far is really quite unacceptable."
In a statement on Wednesday, NRD director-general Jariah Mohd Said explained that Mismah, a name found in the latest supplementary electoral roll draft, was granted permanent residency on July 17, 1982, and later citizenship on Jan 31, 2011.
However, the statement failed to shed light on the question of how the NRD online verification system could have categorised Mismah as a permanent resident on Tuesday morning but 'upgraded' her to citizen four hours after a Malaysiakini report.
Jariah was also silent on the PAS allegation of there being 1,597 such cases nationwide.
Ambiga said that Bersih 2.0 had received similar complaints prior to the expose but had not managed to have it proven until the Malaysiakini report was published.
"What I would have expected from the authorities is for them to say 'we think this is serious, we think it must be investigated and we will come back to the public on the issue', but unfortunately all those who have spoken appeared to be defending the indefensible."
Misgivings over biometric system
Ambiga described the issue as something that requires urgent attention and transparency from the NRD, failing which the affair could largely undermine the introduction of the biometric system by the Election Commission (EC).
"It was one of the reasons why we have misgivings about the biometric system, because if we can't even get the database at the NRD right, and there are questions about its integrity, then I really don't know how it can progress to a biometric system."
The issue coupled with the failure of the authority to provide a satisfactory answer, has deepened the confidence crisis faced by the government, warned Ambiga.
"Trust is something that they have to build and the way they can build trust is by being honest with us, it is really quite simple, and by being absolutely transparent with the public."
She reiterated that the EC has to involve the public at every stage of the implementation of the biometric system and keep them updated throughout the process.
"In today's Malaysia, it is not enough for the authority to say 'just trust us'," she stressed.
---------- Post added at 10:49 PM ---------- Previous post was at 10:44 PM ----------
200,000 Indonesians listed as voters, claims Anwar
Jimadie Shah Othman
Aug 5, 11
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Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim claimed that some 200,000 Indonesians have been registered as voters in Malaysia, complaining of another dive in the standards of democracy in the country.
He was quoted as saying by The Philippine Star that he has received reports of the allegations and added that Filipino migrants in Sabah have also been registered on condition that they vote for the ruling BN government.
"I believe in the people of Malaysia. The Malaysian media and the government may have labelled me as a threat to the country and accused me of being a pawn for Zionists and the United States, but I believe the people can't be fooled," Anwar was quoted as saying by the online news portal during his visit to Manila.
Anwar's (right) comments come in the light of the recent controversy where a permanent resident holding a red MyPR card had been registered as a new voter in the latest supplementary electoral roll issued by the Election Commission (EC).
Merely four hours after Malaysiakini reported that Mismah had become a voter despite being just a permanent resident, she had apparently become a citizen.
According to election laws, the EC updates the electoral roll every three months with a quarterly supplementary electoral roll draft and only citizens are allowed to be registered as voters, and that verification is done through the Agency Link-Up System (Alis) of the National Registration Department.
Claims that foreigners being illegally registered as voters to increase the support of the political parties in power have been continually raised by polls watchdog Bersih 2.0 and opposition parties but constantly denied by the EC.
MyKad syndicates found in Subang
Meanwhile, Selangor PAS said today that several months ago they caught a group of syndicates involved in issuing Malaysian identification cards (MyKad) to foreigners red-handed.
Division secretary Khairuddin Othman (left in photo, with Khalid) told a press conference today that they had raided two houses in Paya Jaras, Subang to nab the group.
Khairuddin added that the “house owner” was distributing MyKads to those suspected to be Indonesians and Cambodians.
However, the culprit managed to escape before the police arrived at the scene. Nevertheless, members of Selangor PAS had lodged a police report on the matter.
During the raid, which took place in February, a collection of MyKads and scanning equipment as well as card readers used to authenticate the identification cards were discovered, he said.
Oddly enough, said Khairuddin, the names of the owners of the confiscated MyKads are still only recognised as permanent residents, with red MyPR identification.
“We have lodged a police report, but we still waiting for an answer,” said the practising lawyer, frustrated over the delay in investigations since their exposure in February.
“We don't dispute that many deserve to get the MyKad... but the discrepancies on the NRD's website give rise to doubts,” he said.
Shah Alam PAS MP Khalid Samad, who was also present, said that this case is similar to what had happened in Sabah several years ago, allowing for BN to win big in the state.
“So it is not impossible for this to take place in the peninsula, moreover when there is no transparency in the award of the identification cards,” he said.
---------- Post added at 11:02 PM ---------- Previous post was at 10:49 PM ----------
Friday, 05 August 2011 10:34
The rot within the Election Commission, NRD and Immigration Dept
Written by Maclean Patrick, Malaysia Chronicle
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In the face of denials by the Election Commission and the National Registration Department on irregularities in voter registrations and the issuing of citizenship to illegals, one has to wonder; what would have happened if no-one had taken the time to check on the registration listings and the status of citizenship of certain people?
Would the irregularities have gone unnoticed? And if they have been irregular practices - how long have they been in place?
Does this not smell of the infamous Project IC of the 1990s?
Again, it began with UMNO
Project IC is the name used to describe the allegation of systematic granting of citizenship to immigrants (whether illegal or legal immigrants) by giving them identity documents known as IC (identity card), and subsequently, MyKad.
The project is a complex matter involving certain political parties as well as various government agencies including the Election Commission of Malaysia, the National Registration Department and the Immigration Department, which comes under the purview of the Ministry of Home Affairs. The suspicions and allegations on the existence of Project IC began around the mid-1990s.
The project, in its widespread and intensive form, is suspected to have begun in the early 1990s after the entry of United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) into Sabah politics.
Throughout the 1990s, several government officers were arrested under the Internal Security Act for their involvement in Project IC. A Parliamentary Select Committee on Integrity was set up to hear testimonies of some of the detainees in February 2007. The committee was chaired by Sabah Member of Parliament Bernard Dompok. On May 16, 2007, Dompok quit as chairman of the committee over disagreements on the function and scope of the committee, in particular, over the refusal of the National Registration Department to appear before the committee. Later on, the findings of the committee was never made public.
Has a rehashed Project IC been reborn and using the latest technology to aid it?
Some wait a lifetime, others need only 4 hours
In the case of the individual called Mismah, who had her PR status upgraded to Full Citizenship in the space of four hours, Election Commission head Abdul Aziz Yusof attributed the problem to technical negligence.
Elaborating on the issue, he said he had contacted the NRD and was told that its online database had not been updated alongside the Agency Link-Up System (ALIS).
"(It was only) when I called (them) that they realised they have not updated the names online," Abdul Aziz added.
The NRD online database - used by the public to verify their status and details - is different from ALIS, which is the reference point for the EC in registering voters, he said.
If the NRD only knew that their online databases were not updated when the EC chairman called them, what were their ICT staff doing the whole time before the phone call?
And the EC explanation does not explain how Mismah could have her status changes within the same day during a four hour span. The changes to Mismah status were made before the call by the EC chairman to NRD. Thus, the ICT team was updating its record before the call. Does this mean that the main database had already had the changes made, and thus, this database has different information as compared to the online databases?
How many more are there?
And how many more Mismahs do we have? The records held by the NRD are now a point of contention? How sure are we that the information contained within the NRD databases are credible and true?
And with the impending use of the biometric system by the EC, one still wonders; how sure are we that the biometric information is coming from the correct database and how correct will the data be?
The legalisation of immigrants also uses biometrics as a means of registration, and this database of immigrants may be far more complete than the NRD or EC databases. Yet, even this to is looked upon suspiciously. How sure are we that the records from the Immigration Department’s databases will not make its way into the NRD databases?
Bear in mind, the EC still has to collect finger-print information of current and existing voters. The easiest method is to tap into the NRD database but not all those registered in the NRD database are registered voters.
Citizens still have to register to vote and a vetting process still has to be complied with. Thus, there will be a lot of activity to update and keep current the databases under the control of the EC, how sure are we that during this period of activity, manipulated information does not makes its way in?
The EC assertion that everything is transparent and clean is a farce. The EC must now convince the public that their right, as citizens of Malaysia, is not tainted nor super-ceded by the needs of a ruling government desperate to stay in power and willing to do anything to accomplish the task - even to the point of selling citizenships to illegals in order to buy votes. - Malaysia Chronicle