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Archive for January 30th, 2011

LABIS, Jan 30 — Informal results from the 12 polling districts show that Barisan Nasional (BN) has retained the Tenang state seat with a 3,735-vote majority.

Results sent through the Twitter micro-blogging service have put BN’s Azhar Ibrahim at 6,698 votes against PAS candidate Normala Sudirman’s 2,963 votes in the Umno stronghold.(From Malaysian Insider)

Commentary: The failure to penetrate BN fortress by the PR as reflected by the loss of Tenang means that the PR need to relook its unspoken strategy to go South instead of go East. By electoral logic change will come first from constituencies with less majority than those with large majority and thus more voter resistance. Some how an unspoken policy has been adopted by PR to bet on the Southern strategy based on familiarity of terrain and conveniences of the campaigners. While these are factors to take into consideration they cannot compare to voters sentiments. The voters should be put on top of all considerations compared to conveniences of the campaigners.

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While it is raining cats and dogs,  about 800 residents/voters are evacuated, and some villages are effectively cut off the voting rate in Tenang, according to EC, is at 68.69% at 4.30pm-which is  surprisingly closing on the 73% at 2008 general election where there was no flood! Many on-line folks are wondering aloud what happened. There is a faint reminder of the surprisingly `low voting rate’ in Sibu-which was later revised upwards by a whopping 10% by the EC after counting extended into 9.00pm. Are we looking at something similar happening in Tenang?

Update: Final voter turn out is officially 71.75%, or 10588 voters having voted, only slightly lower than the 73.5% at 2008 general elections. More analysis may be possible later as more details may emerge.

Update 2: the voting rate has dropped to 66.7%, or only 9833 voters having voted,  according to Bernama report (see 2nd attachment below)-confirming our previously expressed reservation of the voting rate which closed on the 2008’s, despite the inundation of the constituency for a whole day. Any explanation from EC this time?Why the EC seems to be incapable of giving accurate voting rate? The situation is particularly disturbing as it raise the issue if the voting rate for the whole day had been inflated (by 4% or 755 voters )for some purpose?

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The BN campaign director announced the deployment of transport help to voters-shouldn't this be the EC's job?

Waist height flood water has effectively stopped most voters to come out to vote-a consideration to stop the poll.

There are many aspects of election administration to look into when it come to severe floods: when should the election be put off on account that substantial proportion of voters are prevented to cast their vote? The EC should set the standard ahead so that there would not be any accusation of bias. 2. Should the polling hours be extended. According to the EC (reported) the extension will run foul of laws-but this had happened in previous general elections in Selangor before. 3. Should voters be stopped from bringing in their own umbrella to the polling center/school? Reportedly this is stopped on excuse that the voters’ won umbrella can be turned into a weapon. Then do the EC provide enough umbrella to all the voters? To be noted: the polling center’s start from the gate of a school-which can be 20-30m from the polling station/classroom.

Update: since provision of government transport can be a decisive factor in a flood-hit election the party agents should be monitoring the handling of these precious public resources as much as they watch over the polling 7 counting process. This is a point which Opposition parties need to take up for future elections. If the provision of transport prove to be so skewed in favour that it affect the election results significantly then the election results will lose credibility. It would then mean that the election was not decided by the voters choice-but by the choice of the EC on where to send the transport to! In a fair election it is the voters who choose who win-not the transport provider!

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There are 2 candidates in Tenang by-election, by common sense. However reading the national/public funded newsagency report, there is only 1 candidate worth mentioning. Even the election administrator, the past Assemblyman, the sitting MP from MCA are worth mentioning compared to the other candidate. Such bias of the official media should be condemned by sensible folks though Bernama has made noises that it would give fair coverage to all sides of politics. Look like old habits die hard.

January 30, 2011 14:01 PM

A Wet Polling Day In Tenang

LABIS, Jan 30 (Bernama) — Heavy rain in the district since the past few days has somewhat dampened the polling for the Tenang by-election, which is underway since 8am Sunday.

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While BN Sarawak is hit by severe defections in its component parties (see attachment below) the top leader is fighting in all ways possible to hang on tom power via simultaneous elections (see 2nd attachment below). It does not take any partisan observer to sense some desperation on the part of Taib to pursue the simultaneous elections -BN national still have plenty of time-3 years, before the national poll is due. Does Taib think that his political survival is so important to BN-while the UMNO’s media and Secretary General had said that BN will surely win Sarawak with or without Taib? In fact there are people who argue that the BN’s chances could be better without Taib! Thus the pursuit of simultaneous elections by Taib could be at cross purpose with the thinking in BN/UMNO HQ. The more it sounds like the simultaneous elections is just for 1 man the persuasive power is weakened. The more this appear so the more it reflect desperation by the 1 man….Should the date for Sarawakian voters to choose their leader being hijacked by the self-serving calculation of 1 man?

PRS strongman quits BN, slams ‘bully’ Taib

Joseph Tawie | January 30, 2011

Parti Rakyat Sarawak strongman Tedwin Ngumbang’s move out of Barisan Nasional’s fold is a boost to resurging Sarawak National Party (SNAP).

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EC utilise truck to move voters-a historical first! Why not make it a regular feature?

Government boats used to ferry voters-good sign compared to party transport being used. At least these transport are free of party logos.

For the 1st time ever the EC reportedly see the point to provide transport to voters who are caught in heavy downpour in a by-election! The body should have seen this years ago and started way back when many more voters are also similarly hamstrung due to rain, no river crossing, costly travel to polling centre etc. The consequences of not doing this is: political parties will use the excuse to provide transport to keep on campaigning up to the polling day-thus violating the international norm of not campaigning at the point of polling. The test of the EC’s fairness in election administration: can the transports be provided fairly in all areas compared to BN strongholds in the FELDA’s?

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