The rumours have been swirling intensely for the past few months that the Barisan Nasional (BN) is registering foreign workers and permanent residents as voters for the coming general election. Various parties have given eye-witness accounts of vans from the National Registration Departments (NRD) heading to remote areas to conduct discreet registration exercises.
In May 2011, PKR Ampang Member of Parliament, Zubaidah Kamaruddin had also surfaced a letter allegedly written by UMNO Hulu Selangor to the Home Minister to grant citizenship to a list of 2,000 foreign workers with the pretext that they will vote for BN in the upcoming elections.
However, it was the reports in Malaysiakini earlier this week providing hard-evidence that foreign permanent residents have been granted voting rights in Malaysia. What was perhaps more shocking was that within a matter of 4 hours, the status of the dubious new voters were immediately changed from permanent residents to citizens of this country in the NRD database.
The above cases prove beyond doubt that there is an unholy conspiracy between BN, the Election Commission as well as the NRD to cheat their way to victory in the next general election.
Alarm bells are raised over the integrity of our national security systems because of the flagrant abuse of the process and the ease at which our citizen data get manipulated. They also prove that the biometric system proposed by the Election Commission to "prevent phantom voters" is a complete non-starter. If even our NRD system can be tampered with so blatantly, there is no credible assurance that the government can provide that the biometric system proposal worth hundreds of millions of ringgit will be clean, transparent and secure.
The action of the above parties follows the Prime Minister's rallying cry in Selangor in May 2011 for BN to "win at all costs". While the results of 2008 took BN by surprise, they are now leaving nothing to chance and would use all tricks in the book to maintain their strangle hold on power as well as to recapture the states lost to Pakatan Rakyat.
It is also not the first that BN has awarded of citizenship to foreigners in a massive scale. They have previously done the same in Sabah with the covert “Project IC” which is also known as “Project M” where “M” denotes Mahathir. The project has cemented UMNO’s stranglehold on power and reduced the political power of the Kadazan, Dusun and Murut communities in Sabah. The outcome today in Sabah was a population explosion where naturalised “foreigners” outnumber locals in the state.
BN will use its control over the media and security apparatus to intimidate Malaysians to vote BN as seen most recently during the Bersih rally, and money will not be an object to buy votes as shown in the Sarawak state elections. And if intimidation and the buying of votes do not assure them of success, BN would blatantly cheat its way to victory.
Malaysians who are united in seeking free and fair elections will need to work doubly hard to negate the electoral malpractices committed by BN. And Malaysians seeking to achieve change in the next general election will have to work triply hard to convince those who are still in doubt over the need for change to overcome the uneven playing field in favour of BN.