The Election Commission (EC) has announced that it is finally finishing up the process of automatic registration, which will see 5.8 million new voters being added to the electoral roll on 16 January. This is an increase of approximately 40%, making the total number of voters in Malaysia swell from 15.8 million to 21.1 million.
Of that massive figure, 1.2 million comprise of Undi18 voters, a movement which gave suffrage to those aged between 18 and 20. With automatic registration in place, citizens will no longer need to worry about having to manually register themselves to be eligible to participate in elections.
EC deputy chairman Azmi Sharom added that the voter roll will be updated on the 16th of every month instead of every three months and will automatically add new eligible voters who just turned 18. “So if you turn 18 this month, you can expect to be on the electoral roll on the 16th of the subsequent month,” Azmi said.
Azmi also urged those eligible to make sure that their address and other relevant information are accurate so as to avoid any objections come voting season. This can be done through the EC’s website or the MySPR Semak app. He said that if you are eligible but unable to find your name on the website, you will need to contact the EC to rectify the issue.
The journey to implement Undi18 and automatic registration has been a tumultuous one. Constitutional amendments were made in July 2019, but the implementation had been repeatedly delayed, leading to a court battle that saw the movement emerge victorious.
Despite the surge in the number of voters, Azmi explained that re-delineation of electoral boundaries cannot be done until 2026, as the constitution only allows for this activity to be done every eight years, the last one being done in 2018. “Yes, some constituencies that are already very large are going to be even bigger … this means a terrible imbalance in terms of constituency sizes,” said the deputy chairman.