Tan Sri Datuk Seri Panglima Haji Ab. Rashid Ab.Rahman announced today that the E.C. have recruited 190,000 personnel to assist in administrating the next G.E. as reported in the Star (full report here). (Would you believe this guy has 7 titles to his name which is prominently shown at the SPR website. And his deputy has 8).

On 7th June ’07, it was also reported that the ‘updated’ additional electoral roll is ready to be gazetted and will include 141,553 newly registered eligible voters (details here). This number represent less than 3% of the so-called 4.82 million new voters sought after by the E.C.

At the cost of Rm30 million (and not Rm200 million as some has claimed) spent on this exercise of updating the electoral roll which is supposedly done every quarter with registration of newly eligible voters allowed throughout the year, it would appear that the E.C. is more successful in recruiting staff rather than performing one of its primary function i.e. getting eligible voters to register. Perhaps, its Election Academy recruiting methods should be applied to create awareness among the general and younger electorate.

Of course, there is the other equally important issue of deleting names of the ‘deceased’ from the rolls which, I believe, is an exasperating effort too. How many living souls bother to check the electoral roll to ensure that their names are where they are suppose to be? And if they do, will they also do so for their duly departed relatives, friends, etc. You might think it is unimportant but I beg to differ.

Undi hantu has been a bane to election results in the past and E.C.s inability to provide irrefutable evidence that the electoral roll is meant for ‘alive and kicking’ voters will continue to haunt us in the future. The E.C. functions must include the task of eliminating doubts on its credibility and independence which is encapsulated within the phrase – In appointing the members [of the E.C.], the Yang Di-Pertuan Agong “shall have regard to the importance of securing an Election Commission which enjoys public confidence”. Apart from getting direct feedback from the public, has the E.C. tried to collate their database with the NRD, hospitals, etc instead of waiting to be ‘informed/advised’ which is typical of the bureaucratic ‘insolence’ embedded within the mindset of government servants.

It was heartening to note that when the E.C. announced the proposal to use indelible ink recently, the public were made to believe that there was ‘light at the end of the tunnel’.

Well, folks, Nazri Aziz, that erstwhile lawyerly clown trolling the corridors of power up on the hill put paid to that idea by passing the buck to the National Fatwa Council to make a decision on the matter. (See here).

N.A. also said recently – The Election Commission has to pass through Parliament. This is the reality of the political system in this country. Anything that needs to be done, has to go through Parliament. And amendments will have to go through majority vote in Parliament. And BN has 92 percent of the seats in Parliament. That’s the reality. “It’s not what I or Sri Gading or Mambong wants. It is the will of the people because the people place BN to take charge of the country. If you are upset, please go and scold them now. In the next election, go to the ground and tell the people not to vote for BN. We made decisions based on the mandate that was given to us by the people”.

Geewhiz! When did we vote the NFC into parliament, N.A?

By now, some of you will be wondering what the above photo is suppose to represent. It’s ‘HENNA’. It’s also syariah compliant. Otherwise, a lot of malay weddings won’t have it. Get the picture? No? Well, here’s another though I won’t recommend you having something similar and showing it to the election officer on polling day.