1 May 2006

Voters question distribution of NRIC numbers to political parties

By Pearl Forss, Channel NewsAsia

SINGAPORE : Voters are asking why the Elections Department distributed their Identity Card (IC) numbers to the various political parties.

This issue came up after the Workers' Party distributed their pamphlets to residents in Joo Chiat with their IC numbers printed on the envelope.

Many residents in Joo Chiat are worried. They want to know why the Workers' Party had their NRIC numbers printed so prominently with no regard for confidentiality.

One resident asked: "It's a personal identity number, how can it be displayed on an envelope and distributed out? What happened if the envelope is in someone else's house? They can be distributed wrongly."

Dr Tan Bin Seng, Workers' Party candidate for Joo Chiat, says he received the information from the Elections Department's Registers of Electors.

In a telephone conversation, Dr Tan says: "The PAP also did the same thing. PAP did that before."

When contacted, PAP says it does not print resident's NRIC numbers on most of its publicity materials.

Recently, the government had moved to tighten disclosure rules amid growing concerns about identity theft.

Local media, for example, are not allowed to publish IC numbers in full in their advertisements since last September.

So the question is - why did the Elections Department have to give out the NRIC numbers of voters?

One voter asked: "The Elections Department shouldn't have given the number to any of the party, whether it's PAP or Workers' Party."

Another voter said: "The NRIC there doesn't help anything, if they just need to dispatch the envelope to us, they don't need the IC number at all on the mailer."

In response to Channel NewsAsia, the Elections Department says the NRIC numbers are given out to political parties as an assurance that the electors are genuine persons.

The Registers of Electors may be purchased by political parties and aspiring candidates to facilitate their communication with registered electors.

Those found guilty of mishandling the information are liable to a $1,000 fine or imprisonment of up to six months, or both.

The Registers of Electors must contain the NRIC numbers, as an assurance that the electors are genuine persons.

The Elections Department will be investigating the feedback from voters on the use of their NRIC numbers. - CNA/de


Anonymous said...

Its puzzling to note that despite our world class system, basic flaws in privacy issues occurs. It shows that the mindset of privacy and protection of identity is yet to be in the powers that holds these NRICs. It defeats the purpose of laws when norms like these occurs.

Anonymous said...

ok, bec of this, shall demote to 2nd world class.

and the nkf saga, further demote to 3rd world class.

then we shall live more peacefully

Anonymous said...

"When contacted, PAP says it does not print resident's NRIC numbers on most of its publicity materials.

LIAR. They printed out I/Cs in the Nee Soon East constituency. They even told you where to place your votes at.

Anonymous said...

Oh well, what can i say, this isn't the first time the PAP has lied anyway.

Anonymous said...

the media are not doing their jobs..at the WP rally in hougang..the opposition candidate was speaking to the crowd about the fear in people voting opp cos of the nric nos appaering in their polling..he explained that there is not to be fear cos all this informations are all readily available to political party contesting in the GE including workers party at a fees..it was not covered by the press..now some silly people complaining and report to the press presumeably cos one WP candidate did just that..wake up please our baisd media!!!