Your Voter Status
A non-partisan voting GUIDE FOR first-time / young voters: PART 1
You asked: "How do I know if I'm registered to vote?" "What do my voter registration details mean?" "Is registration automatic?" "Why does it say I’m a voter when I didn't register?"
What does your voter status look like?
Whether you've registered or not, try going to pengundi.spr.gov.my and type in your IC. After passing a Captcha, scroll down. You'll see something like this.
If you're registered to vote, this is what you'll see.
This is your voter status. The first four rows should be no surprise, but what about the rest?
- Daerah Mengundi
For voting, we need to divide the country into several parts.
Malaysia's electoral system is 'first past the post'— the country needs to be chunked into several electoral districts. An easy way of thinking of those bottom rows of your voter status is like this.
Lokaliti is the smallest component.
It's where people live with clear social connections, for example a kampung or a residential area. Basically, where you vote is based on your IC address. Every locality in Malaysia EVER is listed in the Indeks Buku Daftar Pemilih.
Daerah Mengundi is a group of Lokaliti.
Grouping localities helps determine where a Pusat Mengundi / polling center will be. The boundaries of a Daerah Mengundi is determined by visible landmarks like hills, roads, rivers, or land/state borders.
Did you know the number of voters in any Daerah Mengundi cannot exceed 3,850 people? But otherwise, there are no size restrictions. Usually, an urban Daerah Mengundi is smaller than a rural one because of the area's density.
You might have heard of a lot of redelineation talk lately. Redelineation is a type of adjustment ("urusan pengemaskinian") to Daerah Mengundi borders. Sometimes SPR combines, splits them into more, adjust boundaries.
Combine a few of those together, you have DUN, or state assembly.
State assembly members are voted in and elected by YOU to enact state laws. For example, the Selangor DUN makes laws for Selangor.
The majority party in each assembly form the state government. Its leader is a Menteri Besar / Chief Minister.
No DUN in your voter status? You must be in a Wilayah/Federal Territory. Wilayahs don't have a state legislative assembly. They're governed directly by a combination of Ministery of Federal Territories + your local authority: either DBKL or Putrajaya Corporation or Labuan Corporation.
A combination of DUNs make up one Bahagian Pilihan Raya Parlimen.
Again, except the Wilayahs mentioned earlier. So if you're NOT from a Wilayah, you will get TWO ballots during elections day— one vote for your Member of Parliament (MP), one vote for your state assembly member.
As part of the ultimate legislative body in Malaysia, MPs in the Dewan Rakyat can pass, amend, and repeal laws.
Our executive government— the Prime Minister and their cabinet— is usually drawn from the pool of elected MPs too.
And then you get a generic phone number at the bottom of your voter status to call our Election Commission (SPR) about anything you don't understand. But we recommend calling the SPR in your state.
When you show up to vote, your name should already be on the list for that locality— but ONLY if you've registered to vote! If you're a first time voter and don't want to tag along with your neighbours who know where to vote, try calling your local SPR to confirm your polling stationl
Wouldn't it be great if voter registration was automatic, or if you could register to vote online! After all, many countries around the world do this. But alas, Malaysia is not one of them yet. Here is SPR's official explanation on why they're not into it (fun times).
Remember, as a Malaysian citizen, YOU are a part of ALL of this.
Voting is a fluid process that allows every citizen to be a player in the political arena. But since voting is not compulsory, and registering to vote is not automatic, you need to choose to step into your power. If you didn't register AND it says that you did, someone's catfishing you— better show up early to vote!
Thanks for reading! Want more?
We have a series of non-partisan first time youth voter content to get you covered before election fever peaks. Each episode takes only a few minutes!
If you find this series useful, share it with another youth voter or future voter. We do this work for you, and for us the youth!