THE Fiji Labour Party has urged Justice Ministry permanent secretary to publish the National Register of Voters "as required by law".
FLP secretary general Mahendra Chaudhry wrote to PS Mohammed Saneem last Friday following the media controversy over access to the register, and on the provisions of the Electoral (Registration of Voters) Decree 54 of 2012.
"Under Section 11 of the decree (Publication of the National Register of Voters), the permanent secretary is required to 'at least once in a year' publish the national register of voters," he wrote in the letter.
"We note that the register was not published last year and urge you to publish it this year as required by law."
Mr Chaudhry also drew Mr Saneem's attention to Section 13 of the decree which, he said, required the permanent secretary to at least once every six months publish in the Gazette and daily newspapers a notice listing the names of all persons whose names have been removed from the register.
"This has not been complied with. If no names were removed, the notice should so state but it must be published.
"In terms of accessibility of the national register of voters to the general public, we note that Section 15 requires the register to be kept for public inspection at the office of the permanent secretary or 'at such other convenient places' as the minister or permanent secretary may specify.
"May I suggest that in keeping with past practice and the need for transparency and credibility in such matters, the register also be made available for public inspection at other convenient places such as post offices, district offices or municipal and provincial council offices."
Mr Chaudhry said members of the public should not be forced to travel long distances to access the register.
He said section 16 of the decree permitted registered voters to make an objection to the inclusion of the name of any other person on the register.
"This will not be possible unless it is accessible to them in a published (printed) form at convenient locations mentioned above.
"We note that currently the register is hidden from public view. It is held in electronic format and accessible only by selected members of your staff who have its access code."
Mr Chaudhry said this could hardly be construed to mean that "the register is accessible to the public".
Mr Saneem's private secretary, Inise Bale, confirmed receipt of the queries by The Fiji Times on Monday and said they had been forwarded to Mr Saneem.
Mr Saneem, however, had yet to respond to the issues raised by Mr Chaudhry when this edition went to press last night.