By Datuk Yong Teck Lee, Kota Kinabalu, Monday, August 1, 2011
It is possible to rid the electoral rolls of phantom voters because the legal mechanisms to protect the integrity of the rolls are available in the Federal Constitution, the Elections Act 1958, the Elections (Registration of Electors) Regulations 2002 and the National Registration Act 1959. But the first step is to remove the disease by taking action against the UMNO operatives who conspire in issuing dubious citizenship documents to foreigners.
This was done in 1995 when the Samsul Alang, Jabar Khan, Ajkan Ali, Bandi Bilo and other operatives were detained under Ops Kenal under the Internal Security Act (ISA) for the manufacturing of fake identity cards. This was followed by the Regularisation Exercise under the auspices of the National Security Council in 1996 that allowed genuine foreign workers to remain and the forcible deportation and voluntary exodus of illegals. That was the tipping point in Sabah's long standing efforts to solve the illegals problems and the existence of phantom voters.
But if the Election Commission pretends that there is no problem, then there is no hope of solution. In the 1980s, during the PBS state government era, the then Election Commission Secretary Datuk Hj. Abdul Rashid, had notoriously claimed that talk of phantom voters was "coffee shop talk".
So, at the time, with the help of Institute of Development Studies (IDS) headed by Dr. Jeffrey Kitingan, I headed an Electoral Rolls Committee that scrutinised the entire electoral rolls and found 33,000 cases of duplicate and triplicate ICs in the Sabah electoral rolls. Some genuine locals found that their IC numbers are shared by strangers, including the embarrassing case of the missing "German boy" who somehow also got registered as a voter.
The issue of fake ICs and phantom voters has re-surfaced in recent years. A proof was the case of "Jerome Majimbon", a foreigner, in Inanam, sharing the address of Sepanggar MP Datuk Eric Majimbun. Last week, a Taiwanese investor complained that a Mykad has been issued in his name to defraud him. In Sandakan, Tawau, Semporna, Lahad Datu, adults queue up to collect their Mykads, some of which are obviously suspicious cases.
Employers find that their foreign workers suddenly possess Mykads. It is impossible that UMNO, PBS, UPKO, PBRS, Gerakan, MCA leaders are not aware of the on going issuance of Mykads to unqualified foreigners. It Is UMNO selfishness and PBS collusion with UMNO that the issuance of Mykads and registration of phantom voters have re-emerged.
UPKO President Tan Sri Bernard Dompok asserted that the EC must accept the registration of voters based on ICs/MYKADs issued by NRD. This shows that the deeper problem is not registration of voters but illegal issuance of Mykads to foreigners that is ultra vires the constitution. In the last parliament, Dompok's National Integrity Parliamentary Select Committee tried to probe but government officers refused to attend his meetings. This was contempt of parliament but none of the officers bothered and Dompok, a senior federal minister and BN component head, had to dissolve the committee. This is the reality of UMNO power today.
In the 1999 Likas election petition, which Dr. Chong Eng Leong highlighted again, the court judge found that that there were phantom voters. The court finding was against the Election Commission, not against me. I was a victim, not a cause of the phantom voters. Dr. Chong's PBS witnesses had testified clearly that it was UMNO operatives, not Yong Teck Lee or SAPP, who were responsible for false ICs.
The evidence of phantom voters and fake ICs were given to Dr. Chong Eng Leong by his close buddies in UMNO. This led to the most speedy election petition trial in Malaysian history, the only case ever when a parliamentary seat (Gaya) by-election was called by the Election Commission against the open declaration of the then Parliament Speaker that there was no vacancy.
Dr. Chong had conveniently and consistently ignored the existence of phantom voters in other places like Kawang, a seat used to be held by his pai kau and gin rummy gambling partner, Datuk Osu Sukam. Another UMNO leader who has a lot to answer for was the driving force of the then UMNO Task Force on pengundi luar, Datuk Karim Ghani.
On the part of SAPP, we pledge to override the perennial problem of dubious Mykads and protect genuine Malaysians in Sabah when a SAPP State Government will issue Sabah ICs to Sabahans and other genuine Malaysians permanently resident in Sabah.
Datuk Yong Teck Lee is Ex-CM 28 May 1996 to 27 May 1998