Sunday, February 5, 2023

Sabah sees over 50% increase in voters, sparks concerns of another round of Project IC

NewsSabah sees over 50% increase in voters, sparks concerns of another round...

Sabah has recorded over half a million new voters following the UNDI18 automatic registration, which is a whopping 54% increase. The significant increase has since sparked concerns about another round of “Project IC”, an infamous programme in the 1990s for the systematic granting of citizenship to migrants.

Meanwhile, some constituencies also see their voter roll increase by over 70% when compared to 2018.

According to FMT, Sabah Barisan Nasional (BN) chairman Bung Moktar Radin has urged the Election Commission (EC) to explain the significant increase in the number of registered voters in Sabah.

Ghost voters or legit youth voters?

It is understood that much of the increase occurred between 2018 and 2020 before the voting age was lowered to 18, and automatic voter registration came into effect.

One example is the Keningau constituency, which sees more than 30,000 new voters, bringing the total number of registered voters to more than 80,000. Meanwhile, in Sepanggar, the number of voters showed an 72% increase from 62,000 in 2018 to 107,000.

Apart from that, most of the new voters were identified as Malays, which is relatively uncommon among Sabah natives.

At the same time, Sabah Bersatu leader John Ambrose also pointed out that in Kudat, 16,000 out of the 23,000 new voters were Indians. John then questioned the validity of EC’s data as the Indian population in the northern Sabah district is relatively small.

While many of the new voters are young people who benefited from the UNDI18 rule, the automatic voting registration had also recorded many new voters who are over 30, with some even in their 60s.

Another Project IC?

Meanwhile, Kadazandusun Cultural Association (KDCA) deputy president Clarence B Malakun demanded that the EC and the National Registration Department to come forward to provide an explanation on the matter.

“Sabahans have long been living under the suspicion that non-Sabahans have managed to cast votes. We’ve heard about them getting ICs. We’ve heard about the scandalous Project IC. And now this,” he said.

Earlier, several parties, including those in the government, had called on the EC to clean up the electoral rolls before the election.

“We need to get to the bottom of this because there is no way we can see a 50% increase in less than five years. Something is wrong,” STAR president Jeffrey Kitingan said.

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