Newly-elected Election Commission (EC) chairman Azhar Azizan Harun announced yesterday, 2 October, that nearly 50,000 voters who have passed away or lost their citizenships have been removed from the electoral roll
"The EC and JPN (National Registration Department), from 1 Jan to 30 June this year, removed 48,626 records of voters who have passed away and 1,208 voters who have lost their citizenships," Azhar was quoted as saying by China Press.
"This included the removal of 486 voters who have died and 11 voters who have lost their citizenship for the Sungai Kandis, Seri Setia, Balakong, and Port Dickson by-elections," he added.
The chairman also said that the EC will determine and confirm the existence of many voters under one address.
The EC has also formed a Voters' Registration Improvement Policy committee to tackle issues in relation to voter registration
The committee, which is chaired by Azhar himself, includes the EC secretary, deputy secretary (operations), deputy secretary (strategic), legal adviser and special duties officers to the chairman.
New Straits Times reported Azhar as saying that in the committee's first meeting yesterday, issues on improving and enhancing the accuracy of voters' registration and new voters' registration were discussed.
"I hope with the establishment of the committee, it will be able to improve the accuracy of voters' registration. This is one of the reforms of EC in improving the confidence and improving its image in the eyes of the people," Azhar added.
Despite claims by Pakatan Harapan before the 14th General Election (GE14), the EC had always denied the existence of phantom voters
According to Free Malaysia Today, Klang Member of Parliament Charles Santiago had claimed that nearly 1,000 phantom voters were identified in his constituency prior to GE14.
It is understood that 'phantom voters' refer to those who are ineligible to vote, but their names, including those who had passed away, underaged, or using fake identity cards, are included in the electoral roll.
Nonetheless, theSun reported former EC chairman Tan Sri Mohd Hashim Abdullah as stressing that the term 'phantom voters' does not exist and is only propaganda to cast a negative impression on the EC.