EC: 'Timun', 'Kangkung' are genuine voters

Those questioning the legitimacy of the electoral roll on grounds of the unusual names of voters have been blasted by the Election Commission, which says the names are genuine according to the National Registration Department (NRD) database.

Voters with names such as "Timun" (cucumber), "Kangkung" (water convolvulus) and "Harimau" (tiger) are predominantly from the interiors of Sabah and Sarawak, it says.

EC chief Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof is quoted by The Star today as saying that the commission has been unfairly attacked for making up these names and listing non-existent voters in the roll.

Apart from names of voters bearing similarities to vegetables and animals, there are also voters with names of celebrities and personalities, such as Elvis Presley, A Ramli and Reagan, Aziz said.

Voters with bizzare names

There are even voters with bizarre names, he added, such as Atas Jalan (on the road), Tepi Jalan (on the road shoulder), Machine Gun and Boeing.

"As long as their birth details tally with the NRD records, we cannot question their status and must register them as voters. I hope the people understand this and will not be taken in by those who are going all out to tarnish our reputation," the paper quotes Aziz as saying.

According to him, there are about 3.7 million eligible citizens who have yet to sign up as voters.

The Star also runs an interview today with retired Sabah Archives director Datu Tigabelas Datu Zainal Abidin, who says his name, which translates to "thirteen", was a reference to the number of deaths in his family.

Datu Tigabelas said prior to his birth, his parents had 12 children, all of whom died. When he was born, his parents consulted the elders in their village in Kota Belud before giving him the "unique" name.