Saturday, August 27, 2011

Remove Religion from Voter Registration Forms

Remove religion from voter registration forms, Pua tells EC
UPDATED @ 02:17:10 PM 26-08-2011 By Clara Chooi August 26, 2011

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 26 — DAP MP Tony Pua appealed to the Election Commission (EC) today to remove religion column from voter registration forms, pointing out that a person’s faith is irrelevant to his right to vote.

He claimed that at least one in 20 or 30 of those registered were rejected by the EC for writing “no religion” in their forms or when their religions did not match the one stated in their MyKad details.

“The numbers may be small but it affects a citizen’s right to vote. I find the requirement onerous as a person’s religion is irrelevant to his or her citizenship,” Pua told a press conference this morning.

He added that the authorities should also acknowledge that some Malaysians choose not to profess any faith and this should not affect their eligibility to be registered voters.

“They must take that it is possible for people here not to have a religion ... to be either agnostic or an atheist. It is a frivolous reason to reject their applications,” he said.

Pua added that many Malaysians were unaware that their religion is recorded in their MyKads and may state a different faith when registering to be a voter, resulting in their applications being rejected.

He cited the case of a man who professes Christianity but had his application rejected after it was discovered that his MyKad states that he does not practise any faith.

“It is understandable that they need a voter’s MyKad number, his exact name and address but why bother with the religion?

“Also, what happens if a non-Muslim, for example, wants to change his or her religion? It would be a hassle to keep having to go to the NRD (National Registration Department) to change your MyKad details every time you change your faith,” said Pua.

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