Final Report on Observation of P212 Sibu By-Election
By: Sibu Election Watchers (SEW)
Table of Contents
1 Introduction to SEW
2 Conceptual Framework of Observation
3. Report of P212 Sibu by-election
A. Scope of Work
B. Electoral Roll Verification
C. Nomination Day Observation
D. Campaigning Observation
E. Administration Neutrality Observation
F. Campaign Financing Observation
G. Media Observation
H. Security Observation
I. Polling Day Observation
J. Observers’ Access
K. Post-Election Observation
Appendix 1: Press Clippings
Appendix 2: Press Release by EC to announce Sibu by-election
Sibu Election Watchers (SEW)
Address:11D, Bruang Road, Sibu 96000 Sarawak
Web site: https://sarawaknews.wordpress.com
Chances for democratization in Sarawak is open after Sibu by-election!
The Sibu by-election on May 16th 2010 marked a growing urban voting trend to go against the staus quo in Sarawak, echoing in some ways similar trend in West Malaysia. Its meanings are many, chief of which is: `development politics or the promises of projects, and `money politics’, euphemism for vote buying have been successfully overcome by the better informed urban voters in the area of election campaigning. Another significant meaning is: the strong tussles over the significant postal votes by the Opposition party agents up to the last minutes, showed a stronger determination on their part to challenge the uneven playing field in Sarawak electoral (mal)administration. These developments can only bode well for the sprouting democracy movement in Sarawak, and in practical terms may allow the Opposition to make more headway in the coming elections.
However the limit to such urban inroads is also painfully obvious: the majority of legislative seats in Sarawak are located in the interior, making up over 2/3 of the total. The voting trends of the significant Dayaks community in the Sibu by-election which run counter to the above voting trend, can also be read to mean that the rural voters still need time and effort to see change as an option for them to seek progress for themselves as well as for the whole society.
While there are challenges for the urban campaigners to widen their appeal to the rural voters, the admitted lack of creativity in the campaign styles of the ruling parties, both Federal and State, in the Sibu by-election, means that the chances for democratization and change for Sarawak politics remain open. While only times will tell, the largely unanswered questions on the corruption and electoral unfairness from the challengers, in the context of a stagnant socio-economic prospect for the state, represent strategic offensives which will lead the Opposition ahead in their quest to offer themselves as the popular alternatives of the people, from the people and for the people!
Introduction to Sibu Election Watchers (SEW)
Sibu Election Watchers (SEW) is a local citizen initiative, a non-partisan and independent election group, formed during the Sibu by-election which took place in May 2010.
Several SEW members had observed the state election in 2006 and the national election of 2008, and then the Batang Ai by-election in 2009, under the auspices of MAFREL (Malaysians for Free and Fair Election). This local initiative upholds the same commitment as that of MAFREL, ie to promote free and fair elections, which incorporate concerns over universal civil liberties and human rights.
After not receiving any communication from Mafrel vis-a-vis this by-election,
the observers involved started a new local initiative calling themselves the Sibu Election Watchers (SEW), as part of a network member of Malaysian Election Observers Network (MEO-Net).
SEW has members from various ethnic groups viz Chinesse and Dayak, which reflect the community make up around Sibu. They come from various walks of life, ranging from academic, NGO activists, a music teacher, journalists, to small traders, farmers, laborers etc.
SEW is a self-funded community group, which collaborate with numerous other local community groups to bring about free and fair elections.
SEW’s methodology in election observation entails a comprehensive strategy which covers the entire election process from before the election to post-election. The methodology involves liaison with and scrutiny of the roles of various stake holders of elections viz the Election Commission, Returning Officers, the police, anti-corruption agency (MACC the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission), the political parties, the candidates, media, local government, state and federal governments. SEW’s report on the election focus on the integrity outcome of the election process rather than its political outcome, applying the same standards to all stake holders. SEW utilise national laws and international standards to derive its evaluation of the performance of the electoral process in electing the people’s representatives. SEW hopes that over time the rigorous application of this methodology, its recommendations and voter education campaign will help bring about a more democratic society running with good governance principles.
Together with counterparts all over the world SEW take strong exception to practices which violate free and fair election principles eg vote buying, partial election administration, intimidation of voters, imbalanced media, abuse of government resources for party campaigns, lack of transparency in campaign financing, lack of enforcement against election laws violations etc. Such practices are unfortunately still prevalent in Sarawak –a situation which makes the operation of election observation group like SEW highly relevant here.
Sarawak’s specific conditions
SEW recognizes that the specific geographical condition of Sarawak –vast forested land with difficult access, and specific social-cultural outlook of Sarawak-high illiteracy and low voter registration and voting rates, require sensitive and relevant treatments of election observation missions here. Similarly, SEW prepares for a long haul to face challenges of electoral reform that derive from the extended rule of a single coalition government in Sarawak-which somehow relegate electoral reforms and advancement to lesser priorities for the government. Despite such challenges SEW consider the effort of its growing number of observers as worth it as they constitute the necessary commitment from the citizens to help build a more democratic society in Sarawak as well as in Malaysia as a whole.
Programs & Activities
SEW conduct training workshops, forum, press conferences, analysis of the voters’ rolls, observation of the nomination, party campaigns, polling, counting and tabulation of the results, post-election complaints/petitions, voter education, publication of reports etc to achieve the election observation mission. SEW liaise with other like-minded election observers groups to help build a larger national movement of electoral reform.
SEW maintain a blog along with other network members of MEO-Net to raise awareness on election issues in between elections. The blog is at: https://sarawaknews.wordpress.com
SEW’s essential reference
Article 21 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
(1) Everyone has the right to take part in the government of his country, directly or through freely chosen representatives.
(3) The will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government; this shall be expressed in periodic and genuine elections which shall be by universal and equal suffrage and shall be held by secret vote or by equivalent free voting procedures.
Conceptual Framework of Election Observation
This chapter explains how SEW conduct its election observation.
1. Role of election observers
Election observation needs to be distinguished from 2 other forms of election engagement:
a. Election monitoring –where the parties involved are entrusted with the power of interfering into and correcting the election conduct;
b. Election Supervision-where the parties involve actually set the rules and framework and also run an election.
Election observation missions entitles the party involve to observe, assess and report (OAR) on an election, without interfering into the election. The observers are entitled to collect information, investigate and verify complaints and utilise universal standards of free and fair elections to derive its findings and frame its recommendations to improve future election conduct to all stake holders in elections.
2. Minimum standards of free and fair elections
1. Universal franchise;
2. Effective participation by all parties or individuals in election as candidates and in campaigns;
3. Freedom of expression which allow criticism against the incumbent parties; freedom of assembly, association and movement;
4. All contesting parties are entitled to reasonable access to the media;
5. Voters have freedom of choice to cast ballots.
The standards are derived from national laws and also international standards.
Observers need to observe the election as it takes place and make informed and accurate assessment of the election process. Done in the right way election observers can decrease chances of unfair practices and frauds in election and enhance its credibility. Election observers can also increase voters’ confidence to participate in election and vote freely without fear of reprisal.
3. Rights of observers
1. Election observers should have right to observe all aspects of the election process through freedom of movement in all constituencies and access to all stages of the election;
2. The presence of election observers should be publicised to all stake holders to enhance the effect of observers to deter frauds;
3. Election observers’’ status should be protected by explicit laws of the country; Accreditation to enter nomination, polling stations should be given by Election Commission(EC) to all genuine, independent observers;
4. Election observers are entitled to document the processes in an election especially on the electoral violations for the purpose of reporting them to the public as well as to the election administrators.
4. Responsibilities of election observers
1.Observers should be fully trained before being deployed, to understand the roles of observers;
2. Observers will act in neutral, objective and respectful ways in the entire observation;
3. Observers will not obstruct the operation of the election administrators and respect the authority of the election administrator;
4. Observers will obey instructions on the spot from the election administrator, including the request to leave or not to enter polling stations;
5. Observers will report their findings to all stake holders of the election, including the election administrator; the reports should be objective and verifiable.
5. Prohibitions on election observers
1. Not to disrupt or interfere in the election operation in anyway, even when violations are observed;
2. Not to take side with participants of the elections through behaviour, activities, wearing of logos or any campaign paraphernalia that give the impression of supporting or rejecting any side;
3.Not to touch election equipments without permission of the election administrators;
4. Not to engage in any communication with voters that give impression of influencing the voters in the vote they may cast or affecting the secrecy of their vote;
5. Not to make any partisan statements about the election.
6. Codes of conduct of observers
- Observe with neutral, non-partisan stand; observers should keep himself/herself fully informed, pay respect and observe all relevant election laws of the country; Observers should also keep himself/herself informed of universal standards on election;
- Assess the violations with integrity and honesty; Observations should be objective and balanced, The assessments should live up to the highest standards of journalistic reporting, even to the requirement of a court of laws;
- Report with transparency; the reports should be comprehensive, taking into account of all relevant factors; All conclusions should be verifiable and corroborated; no premature judgments and publicity of the judgments should be made which may jeopardize the standards of observers; Observers should undertake to publicise the report of the objectives, methodology, findings and recommendations of the observation missions to all stake holders of the elections –to parties, media and election administrators, to help reduce suspicion and misunderstanding of the role of election observers. Regular, prompt and consistent reports publication will build reputation for any election observer groups and contribute towards the enhancement of the electoral democracy.
SEW’s reference in this regards is derived from the UN’s Code of Conduct for International Election Observers.
Report of P212 Sibu by-election watch
Introduction to the Sibu by-election
The Sibu-by-election was triggered by the death of the sitting Member of Parliament from SUPP Robert Lau Hoi Chew, on Apr 9 2010. The Election Commission (here after referred to as EC) set May 16th as the polling day and May 8th as the nomination day. 3 candidates vied for the votes of 54, 695 voters, with Robert Lau Hui Yew from SUPP representing Barisan Nasional – the ruling coalition at the national Parliament, Wong Ho Leng from DAP representing the newly formed opposition Pakatan Rakyat coalition for Sarawak, and Narawi Haron, an independent. The voters will cast their vote in 110 voting streams spread over 3 state constituencies (Bawan Assan, Pelawan and Nangka) and 45 polling centres comprising
|public recreational centre||1|
Of the voters a significant proportion are postal voters, 2, 537 in number, or 4.6% of total voters, comprising the military personnel(1,910) and police(627), who will cast their vote ahead of the polling day in a number of military posts and police camps. In addition to that, there are about 200 polling staff will also be made to vote as postal voters in the District Office.
The EC appointed a Returning Officer from the District Office, following past convention, who recruited and trained 1,149 polling staff to run the election. They are assisted by 6 enforcement teams each with representatives from the City Council, police, EC and representatives from the candidates.
A. Scope of Observers’ work
SEW, headed by Wong Meng Chuo, who recruited a 25-member team, of which two volunteers were from the Peninsula and one from Kuching, and the rest from Sibu. The scope of observation cover all stages and aspects of the election -which includes pre-election period, electoral roll analysis, nomination day, campaign period, polling day, financing of the campaign, performance of election administration, and post election. This is a long term observation of the entire election process.
After a training session conducted on Apr 28th in Sibu the team was divided into 3 groups according to the 3 state constituencies under the Parliamentary constituency of Sibu viz Palawan, Nangka and Bawang Assan. A mobile team was task with going around all polling centers to investigate any issues beyond the capacity of the static observers stationed in each polling center on polling day. The observers pair up in 2 to cover a number of polling centers each. Forty-five polling stations would be opened at 39 schools, two kindergartens, a training centre, a longhouse, a public library and a public recreational centre, with 110 polling streams all together. There were a few polling centers in remote areas which require hour – long boat rides eg Rassau, which could not be covered so effectively.
A working group was formed to monitor media coverage on three local Chinese dailies and one English Daily, namely, See Hua, Sin Chew, United Daily and Borneo Post.
Another group works on public donation, which target to raise RM3000.00 to conduct the election observation. The appeal was mostly done through web site and media. In the event, more than RM5000.00 was raised from East and West Malaysia-which allowed more activities to be funded.
SEW sent a delegation to the Returning Officer Mr Wong See Meng’s office, which is actually the District Office, on Apr 29th to apply for observers’ accreditation for the Sibu by-election. Our request was turned down by reference to the EC’s Head Quarter’s decision. So SEW conducted the observation without the accreditation from the election administrator Suruhanraya Pilihan Raya or SPR –which mean we were not allowed to enter prohibited areas in the nomination center and also the polling centers. We were not deterred and proceeded because we consider that there are still huge scope for our observation which can help improve the conduct of the election. We are puzzled why the EC should be scared of observers whereas elsewhere in other countries the election observers are accredited without hesitation to prove that the conduct of the elections is above board!
Accreditation to election observers was withdrawn by the EC from the sole accredited election observer group Malaysians for Free and Fair Elections (MAFREL) after the group allegedly failed to submit their observation reports on numerous occasions. EC has not accredited any other election observer group since then. From another view, SEW is also free from the unreasonably restrictive 20 conditions set by the EC on election observers.
The EC is empowered to give accreditation to election observers under provisions of the Regulation 8, 15(c), 25(2) (d) and 25D of the Elections Regulations (Conduct of Elections) 1981.
B. Electoral Roll Verification
Introduction to Sibu’s Electoral Roll
SEW bought the Sibu electoral roll from the EC for use for the coming Sibu by-election. The roll was subjected to a thorough analysis to see if there are potential problems or weaknesses which hamper the conduct of free and fair elections.
Some basic details of the Sibu parliamentary by-elections which can be derived from the electoral roll and Election Commission’s press release are:
|notification of death||April 12|
|seat fell vacant on||April 10|
|master election roll for 2009, updated until||April 9|
|electoral role for the by-election would be on sale from||Apr 26|
The electoral roll to be used for a by-election combine 3 rolls:
1. Master roll – gazetted yearly
2. Quarterly- gazetted supplementary rolls
3. Additional roll before an election /by-election.
|normal voters||52,158||51, 061|
|postal voters||2,537||2, 618|
1. Was the Electoral roll used by Sibu By-election properly gazetted?
One issue which arises here is: the time lapse from when the roll is updated viz April 9th, to the time when the roll was put up for sales viz Apr 26th, is too short for the additional voters included in the roll to be properly gazetted according to the due process of the Election Commission itself. The EC stipulate that the electoral roll need to be gazetted before they can be used for any election-and gazetting require the public exhibition of the roll, feedback from the voters and even an open hearing for objections. The entire process may take 4-6 weeks. Since there are only 17 days between the date when the roll is updated to and the date for it to be sold to the public there is grave doubt if the EC itself follow their own due process which is intended to reduce weaknesses of the rolls prepared by them. In fact the date of gazette for the electoral roll used have not been publicized since many elections before, though the EC, in its meeting with the election observers, insisted that they had gazetted each electoral roll used for all elections.
So, how did the EC ascertain that the additional voters are not subject to claim of omission and objections, or even erroneous entries? Question may arise why the rush by the EC to include these late applicants? Have all citizens been informed that the EC would accept voters as late as less than 1 month before an election is due?
A reference from the EC’s official web site on how and why an electoral roll is gazetted:
A. THE CERTIFICATION OF ELECTORAL ROLL 1. When Does the Supplementary Electoral Roll get certified?
The supplementary electoral roll is prepared after every quarter and each supplementary electoral roll will be certified when all claims and objections are resolved. The supplementary electoral roll for a quarter will be certified 6 to 8 weeks after the end of the quarter concerned. Only after the supplementary electoral roll is certified it can be used in any by-election or general election. The duration of the registration process and certification for each quarter is clearly shown in the chart below.
A comparisons of the time taken for gazetting the electoral roll used since 12th General Elections of Malaysia:
Comparisons of gazetting times for electoral rolls used in by-elections:
|By-election||E/roll updated to||E/roll on sales||Gazette
|Batu Sapi||Oct 9th 2010||Oct 22||X||<13||Oct 26||Nov 4th 2010|
|Galas||Sept 27||X||X||<30||Oct 26||Nov 4|
|Sibu||Apr 9||Apr 26||X||<17||May 8||May 16|
|Hulu Selangor||Mar 26th 2010||X||X||<22||Apr 17||Apr 25th 2010|
|Bagan Pinang||Sept 4th 2009||X||X||<30||Oct 3||Oct 11th 2009|
|Manek Urai||June 4th 2009||June15||X||<11||July 6||July 14th 2009|
|Penanti||Apr 16th 2009||X||X||<37||May 23||May 31st 2009|
|Permatang Pasir||July 31||Aug 14||X||<14||Aug 17||Aug 25th 2009|
|Bukit Selambau||?||?||Feb 18||?||Mar 29||Apr 7th 2009|
|Batang Ai||?||?||Mar5**||?||Mar 29||Apr 7th 2009|
|Bukit Gantang||?||Feb 21||Feb 18||?||Mar 29||Apr 7th 2009|
|Kuala Terengganu||?||?||Dec 5||?||Jan 6||Jan 17th 2009|
|Permatang Pauh||July 31st 2008*||?||Jun 19*||?||Aug 16||Aug 26th 2008|
|Estimated average time for gazetting an electoral roll-||<23days|
*the deletion of some voters was done after gazette date of June 19th.
**the roll was re-gazetted after addition of new voters-so did the new voters followed due procedures eg exhibition, to get gazetted?
2. Were the 12, 981 voters whose polling centres have been changed been informed of it to prevent polling day confusions?
In Sibu, we found 12,981, or 24% of, voters who have been moved to new voting centers since GE12, even though most of them have stayed in the same addresses. This is similar in pattern and scale as we have discovered in the recent by-election in Hulu Selangor. Do these voters know they need to go to a different place to vote? Can they rush to their new voting centers on by-election day from their familiar old voting centers, in some hilly and riverine areas of Sibu Sarawak?
The massive change of polling centres may not cause problems if the change is caused by the change of polling centres to a nearby newer buildings-usually a school, which happened since the last elections. There are also cases where the change of the name of the polling centre is due to the change of long house name after the chief of the long house had changed since the last election. There are traditions where the name of a long house would change after the chief is changed-which happen often enough. But if the actual location of the polling centre is changed to somewhere too far for convenience to the voters it would be appropriate for the voters to be informed by the EC, other than for the EC to exhibit the new polling centres in the EC’s electoral roll.
In the event the observers did not notice any major problems for voters to locate their polling centres, though, as usual, there are isolated cases of voters who could not find their name on their familiar polling centre. However there might be numerous cases missed by us from among the rural voters and more elderly, voters whose polling centres have been moved away from their familiar location. They may not be able to use SMS to check their polling centre due to illiteracy or lack of mobile network in their locations.
The EC has justified moving of voters to new polling centres when there is over 700 voters in one polling centre. Usually the voters are supposed to be moved to nearby polling centre.
3. Why recruit local voters as polling staff?
Pre-election study of the Sibu constituency found that the constituency with 54,695 voters, including 2,537 postal voters consisting mainly of the military (1,910) and police personal(627), not including 271 of EC’s locally recruited polling day workers who are compelled to vote through postal vote. There is actually quite practical to recruit the entire polling staff from nearby constituencies to give a more neutral outlook to the local voters who have to choose a candidate to vote in the by-election.
The EC recruited 1,149 staff to run the Sibu by-election where 271 are local voters who are not given choice to vote except by postal votes. It turned out that some 190 of them did not return the ballots allocated to them perhaps due to their unfamiliarity with the arrangement. Recruiting outside polling staff could have avoided this situation.
4. Ethnic distribution –timely correction
The constituency comprises of 3 major ethnic groupings of Chinese (66.7% or 36,389 voters), Ibans and other indigenous peoples ( 22.1 % or12,050 voters), and Malays ( 10.5 percent or 5,740 voters). There are also 0.1% of Indians.
The Melanau voters, a significant proportion of whom are not Muslims, were separated from the Malay voters (must be Muslims according to the Constitutional definition) and grouped together with the Dayak voters for this election, thus boosting the Dayak voter proportion while reducing the Malay voters, if the ethnic breakdown is compared with the previous roll.
The correction by the EC is probably a timely correction to give a more accurate picture of the ethnic make-up of the constituency.
Another issue which was not investigated in time was the lower voter registration among the rural residents – which affected the Dayak communities disproportionately.
5. Age groups-suppression of younger voters, overly accommodating older voters, even dead ones?
Youth from 21 to 30 years of age make up only 9% of the registered voters – showing under-representation of youth among the voters. The election faced a common problem of youth working out of town and therefore unable to return to exercise their voting rights. This is especially true for the Iban voters- since the Gawai festival (a traditional harvest festival, equivalent to a new year celebration) was near – on 1st of June, and they cannot afford to come back early or return twice in a short period of time. Youth working out of town is a major problem which denies them their voting rights as there is no arrangement by the EC to allow them to vote as absentee voters or postal voters. The situation discourages voter registration among the youth (of all ethnic groups) and the rural communities (where Ibans pre-dominate).These factors combined to contribute to the appreciably lower voting rate in Sarawak compared to other part of the country. Voting rate for Sibu in last election in 2008 was 68%, compared to the national turn out rate at 70%. Postal voting service could have helped these out-of-town voters but are currently restricted to military personnel, police, their spouse, diplomatic staff, overseas students and EC staff.
|P212 Sibu By-Election Roll of 20100409 – Age Groups|
SEW found the electoral roll have 208 voters who are 100 years old or above, with the oldest born in 1880. It reveals that the problem of an un-updated election roll remain un-addressed since the earlier observation mission in 2006, where hundreds of dead voters were discovered in the electoral roll. Leaving the dead voters in the roll give rise to suspicion of others who might take over their identity to cast `phantom votes’. This should be reduced as much as possible in the interests to uphold the integrity and public perception of the election. The EC has excused itself of taking action on the dead voters based on the lack of documentation to prove death of voters. There should be rooms to improve if the EC do liaise more closely with the National Registration Department and the police which give out death certificates.
Oldest voter of Sibu-M Mahli B Sulong, at 130 year-old-if he is still alive:
|212/49/02/004||Nangka||Ilir Nangka||Kg Bahru||52||12/31/1880|
|1||801231130313||K588537||M Mahli B Sulong||L|
6. Gross inadequacy and withholding of information in the electoral roll sold to the public-which make it difficult for the voters to be accessed.
This happen in a number of ways:
a.Addresses with no house number. –causing big number of voters to be located in a single address. While it is usually done for long houses there are also cases in urban areas where there is no house number supplied in the voters’ address eg Rejang Park. This is a list of such addresses with large number of voters –including urban centres like Rejang Park, Sungai Merah, Teku Rd:
|Voter count||Kodlokaliti||NamaDM||NamaLokaliti||NoRumah Cleaned|
|1507||212/48/03/001||Sungai Merah||Sg Merah Rd||[blank]|
|422||212/48/11/001||Oya Lane||Oya Road||[blank]|
|396||212/47/05/001||Ma`Aw||Ma’Aw Btg Rejang||[blank]|
|345||212/47/05/002||Ma`Aw||Sg Pradom(1)Btg Rejang||[blank]|
|337||212/48/01/001||Rajang Park||Rajang Park||[blank]|
|323||212/48/05/001||Bahagia Jaya||Teku Rd||[blank]|
The extent of the problems of addresses with no house number in various Voting districts are given below-showing the prevalence of the problem:
|Percentage of Voters with Blank No. Rumah, Broken Down By DM|
|212/47/03||BAWANG ASSAN||BAWANG ASSAN||1,642||1,666||98.6%|
|212/47/11||BAWANG ASSAN||LOWER ISLAND||592||2,326||25.5%|
|212/47/12||BAWANG ASSAN||UPPER ISLAND||309||1,342||23.0%|
|212/47/13||BAWANG ASSAN||TANAH MAS||356||1,673||21.3%|
|Total non-postal voters||20,380||52,158||39.1%|
b. Addresses with no street number
Thousands of addresses in urban areas have no street number-making them untraceable in large residential areas like Rejang Park, Sg Merah, where street number is essential for locating an address. This situation remains unchanged though it was discovered in the last election observation mission in 2006.
A sample from the Sibu electoral roll is here:
|2283||691023135342||NO 34||P||2124801001||RAJANG PARK|
7.Involuntary change of constituency
SEW also received complaints of urban voters that their constituency has been changed from Sibu to Lanang without their knowledge. Some of them are:
Chien Boon Ching IC no. 620406135317,
Kou Hong Hsin IC no. 650217135083,
Kong Nieng Ann IC no. 510315135103 and
Lau Pick Sian IC no. 510830135044.
8. Electoral roll’s errors in entries?
31 voters with same (paired) names and same (paired) old IC, but different new IC! Apparently EC corrected IC mistakes in these cases. But how could new IC mistakes be so numerous? That is, they involve about 1/2000 outright IC errors? How did the old IC errors come about when they look nothing like the corrected ones (eg, 621230135595 > 620916136133 and 640316525002 > 640416136004)? The more important question to ask is: did these voters with apparently wrongly input new IC managed to vote in the Sibu by-election? The Malaysian system uses only the voters’ IC as the sole identification when it comes to claiming a ballot paper to vote. If the voter produces an IC which differ from what appear in the roll then they would be denied the ballot paper, and thus their constitutional right to vote! See Table below for the 31 voters affected:
SPR corrections. New, New, ICs for 31 voters, who have kept the same names, same old IC numbers, and stayed in the same place
|20080205||621230135595||K0025775||GAEJ||2124701013||Rh Nangkai Pasai Besar||1962|
|20100409||620916136133||K0025775||GAEJ||2124701013||Rh Sebastian Unggoh Pasai Besar||1962|
|20080205||640928135427||K0138142||CBL||2124808003||Lim Ham Swee Rd||1964|
|20100409||640928135734||K0138142||CBL||2124808003||Lim Ham Swee Rd||1964|
|20080205||720316135805||K0384633||ANCW||2124806003||Jalan Ding Lik Kong||1972|
|20100409||760316135713||K0384633||ANCW||2124806003||Jalan Ding Lik Kong||1972|
|20080205||490620135649||K134745||OST@OST||2124803001||Sg Merah Rd||1949|
|20100409||470620135691||K134745||OST@OST||2124803001||Sg Merah Rd||1949|
|20080205||581231135737||K329877||SAL||2124904004||Rh Ijau Ulu Sg Merah||1958|
|20100409||381231136741||K329877||SAL||2124904004||Rh Dick Ulu Sg Merah||1958|
|20080205||450908135473||K346119||LSC||2124705001||Ma’Aw Btg Rejang||1945|
|20100409||450908135430||K346119||LSC||2124705001||Ma’Aw Btg Rejang||1945|
|20080205||420711135296||K346273||YLH||2124703009||Lwr Bkt Lan(Bwg Assan)||1942|
|20100409||420502135476||K346273||YLH||2124703009||Lwr Bkt Lan(Bwg Assan)||1942|
|20080205||551221135621||K590780||WMAN||2124904004||Rh Ijau Ulu Sg Merah||1955|
|20100409||530115135713||K590780||WMAN||2124904004||Rh Dick Ulu Sg Merah||1955|
|20080205||560711135653||K663205||JAS||2124703003||Rh Thomas Bwgassan Btg Rejang||1956|
|20100409||561228135957||K663205||JAS||2124703003||Rh Thomas Bwgassan Btg Rejang||1956|
|20080205||560501135727||K696770||WBJ||2124902012||Jalan Abang Barieng||1956|
|20100409||560801135753||K696770||WBJ||2124902012||Jalan Abang Barieng||1956|
|20080205||561002135719||K701035||HSH||2124904008||Nang Sang Poh||1956|
|20100409||581002136349||K701035||HSH||2124904008||Nang Sang Poh||1956|
|20080205||600201135200||K710886||RAK||2124702015||Rh Nyala Sg Aup||1960|
|20100409||581011135604||K710886||RAK||2124702015||Rh Jonathan Juna Sg Aup||1960|
|20080205||590711135802||K732868||HDE||2124703003||Rh Thomas Bwgassan Btg Rejang||1959|
|20100409||600319135652||K732868||HDE||2124703003||Rh Thomas Bwgassan Btg Rejang||1959|
|20080205||610116135387||K763068||NEC||2124904007||Rh Nyambang 6 1/2 M Oya Rd||1961|
|20100409||610216135739||K763068||NEC||2124904007||Rh Juntan 6 1/2 M Oya Rd||1961|
|20080205||621112135180||K791543||LHS||2124803001||Sg Merah Rd||1962|
|20100409||621112136183||K791543||LHS||2124803001||Sg Merah Rd||1962|
|20080205||630702135599||K801774||SNE||2124802002||Au Yong Rd||1963|
|20100409||630702135898||K801774||SNE||2124802002||Au Yong Rd||1963|
|20080205||621007135904||K803311||TBO||2124703003||Rh Thomas Bwgassan Btg Rejang||1962|
|20100409||620625135878||K803311||TBO||2124703003||Rh Thomas Bwgassan Btg Rejang||1962|
9. EC does it again: mistakes in voters roll in CDs sold
EC’s Siti Mariam replied to SEW’s enquiry that the new copy which SEW received was corrected of a technical error that plagued the earlier copies. The EC reportedly (Sin Chew Daily) admitted making mistake again: this time over the voters roll in the CDs sold at over RM230.00 per piece. According to EC the printed voters roll was spared the mistakes. The roll used was updated to end of last year-not up to April as some reports have it (Actually it came from SPR’s own press release-refer to Index 3). The EC said that it takes some procedures for the newly registered voters to be verified. However the earlier Hulu Selangor by-election actually used a voters’ roll updated to Apr 2010! How can this be possible? Does it mean that the EC didn’t go through the proper procedures in registering the voters in Hulu Selangor before allowing them to vote? The confusion remains and need further clarification to ascertain the truth.
Conclusion on electoral roll:
From the various problems identified above it is amply clear that the Sibu by-election was carried out with a rather inadequate, confusing and non-functional electoral roll. But this is reflective of the situation of electoral rolls used for the entire country. Something must be done to bring corrections.
C. Nomination Day Observation
2,000 outside police supplemented local police to provide security at Sibu by-election. Is it really necessary?
SEW sent a team of observers to observe the nomination process from both sides of the main parties viz SUPP and DAP. The 2 sides are separated at safe distance by heavy presence of police to stop any possible flare up between the assembled party supporters – so 2 teams are needed to observe the nomination process. SEW observers were not officially allowed to enter the nomination center which was cordoned off by heavy police presence. Only EC staff, accredited media, police, candidates and a limited number of supporters were allowed to enter this restricted zone. However a couple of observers were somehow allowed to mingle into the crowds that went into the restricted zone-but not into the hall where the nomination were processed.The observers try to observe if there are weaknesses in the running and setting up of the nomination process to see if there are any aspects which may not help the delivery of a free and fair election.
Many government vehicles bearing `QSG’ number plates were seen at the nomination centre.
2. Shortest nomination time internationally: 2 hours
On nomination day SEW found that the proceeding was made unnecessarily confrontational due to the limited time ie 1 hour, from 9.00am-10.00am, for the filing of nomination paper for all the candidates, and another hour, from 10.00am-11.00am for exhibition of the nomination papers. The EC will take the next hour to receive and deliberate on the objections before announcing the accepted candidates at around 12.00noon. This appears to be the shortest nomination process internationally eg Philippines, Bangladesh, Indonesia takes 1-3 months for the nomination process to complete. A consequence from the short time is the congregation of rival party supporters at the nomination centre during the short time-which does not happen in other countries.
Another consequence of the short nomination is the huge numbers of police personnel being deployed at the nomination center at Dewan Suara, to stop any untoward incidence between the supporters from the both sides of Barisan National and Pakatan Rayat. The police personnel deployed amounted to 2,000 while the cost of deploying them over the entire campaign period amount to over RM5mil. This stands in strong contrast to the relatively meager budget of RM1mil spent by the EC to run the entire election process. Actually the EC used to get only half a million to run a by-election-an amount which was doubled only since the Hulu Selangor by-election.
The nomination proceeding was relatively orderly where the 3 candidates, including one independent successfully get themselves nominated.
3. Exhibition of nomination paper was not done to public
However, the exhibition of the candidates’ paper was made accessible to a limited number of people who happened to be inside the restricted zone, rather than to the public during the limited 1 hour exhibition time. The legal rights of the voters to inspect the nomination papers were thus denied.
SEW filed a complaint letter to the election returning officer on the 10th of May. Though we receive no written explanation, the returning officer told SEW that the nomination paper was displayed at the main gate of Dewan Suara which is a restricted area under the guard of police and Federal Reserver Unit ( FRU). No one seems to have noticed the public exhibition, including the reporters present.
Conclusion on Nomination Day observation:
The nomination period of 2 hours, which is the shortest in the region caused tensioned-filled congregation of party supporters at the nomination centre, require heavy costly security presence, and deny the voters’ right to inspect the nomination papers. The short time had also allegedly caused an intending candidate to lose his candidature in Pensiangan, Sabah in the last general elections. These are areas where the nomination process can and must be improved.
D. Campaign Observation
1. SEW divided the observers into 3 teams according to the 3 State Assembly constituency under Sibu, to observe the election campaign which lasted 8 days, from nomination day to polling day. A Coordinator led each of the team, observing in Bawan Assan, Pelawan and Nangka. Observers wore SEW’s yellow t-shirt to perform their duty so that there is also a deterrence effect on any wrong-doers.
2.The campaign of BN for the by-election brought vote buying and abuses of Government resource to unprecedented height. In so doing it greatly distort the will of the people as reflected in the outcome from the ballot box. At least 20 ministers, led by the Prime minister, and many more deputies, parliamentary secretaries, department officials from the Federal Government and their state government counterparts took turn to make allocations or promising the same:
On 15 May,
1. Prime Minister Najib promised to sign a cheque of RM5 million for mitigating flood in Sibu, in the following day if BN win the election. He said to the crowd, “I help you, you help me” during the rally (`ceramah’) at Rajang Park, Sibu.
2. Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin handed over RM1.75 million to 4 Methodist Churches in Sibu for church construction expenses.
3. Sarawak Chief Minister Taib Mahmud announced the revised lower premium for renewing the leasehold residential, commercial and agricultural land.
4. Minister of Internal Affairs, Hishamuddin gave out citizenship to two long waiting old women in Sibu, and announced that the ministry will resolve the identity card problem of Sarawak residents in two years time.
5. Federal Deputy Minister for Health, Rosnah Abdul Rashid Shirlin promised a 1Malaysia clinic for Teku and an ambulance each for Bawang Assan clinic and upper Lanang clinic. She handed out numerous gifts to the Sg Aup’s voters and many government vehicles are seen outside the function held in Rh Juna.
6. Minister for Tourism Ng Yen Yen presented a cheque of RM200,000.00 to a headman in Bawang Assan for a homestay programme.
7. Minister of Federal Territories Raja Nong Chik Raja Zainal Abidin handed out gift and assistance to 150 hard-core poor in Sibu.
8. Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin promised the most modern and largest training centre for RELA under the 10MP. He also pledged government allocations of RM50,000 and RM200,000 for the activities of Rela Sibu and State Rela Office respectively.
On 13 May,
9. Minister for Energy, Green Technology and Water Affairs, Peter Chin Fah Kui announced allocation of RM65 million for 3 projects to upgrade Sibu Water Board services under the 10MP.
10. Works Minister Shaziman Abu Mansor announced 5 road upgrading grants of RM611 million for Sibu area under the 9PM.
11. Sarawak Chief Minister, Taib Mahmud announced a grant of RM600 to each of the 217 families in Rantau Panjang area to repair their houses.
12. Prime Minister Najib distributed 50 units of 1Malaysia Netbook worth RM999 each to 50 students in Sibu.
13. Works Minister Shaziman Abu Mansor announced 322 road projects for Sarawak costing RM5.68 under 9MP.
14. Minister of Information Communication and Culture Rais Yatim announced two new communication services to enhance its capability to connect the nation viz via physical communication and via Community Postmen Service.
On 12 May
15. Prime Minister Najib launched the interior satellite broadcast transmission project and announced 1,000 netbook for students while he handed out 50 units.
16. Minister of Information, Communications, Arts and Culture Rais Yatim promised RM365 million for ICT development in Sarawak at the launching of ‘Liga Remaja Kreatif Peringkat Kebangsaan’ at the Civic Centre in Sibu. He also presented 45 units of netbook to students of four schools in Sibu. He said under the National Broadband Initiative, RM1billion would be spent on buying and distribution of netbook computers.
17. Deputy Minister of Housing and Local Government Lajim Ukim approved RM500,000 for the construction of a concrete drainage system and culvert in Teku.
18. Deputy Minister of Prime Minister’s Department MurugiahThopasamy announced approval of RM4 million for upgrading infrastructures of Kampung Bahagia, Teku.
19. Prime Minister Najib handed over RM18 million to 57 Chinese Primary Schools and 5 Private Chinese Secondary Schools of Sibu and Kapit Division at RH Hotel.
20. Sarawak Second Minister of Finance Wong Soon Koh promised fund for the Tua Pek Kong Temple for the waterfront project that costs RM8 million.
21. Sarawak Housing and Urban Development Minister Abang Johari announced waiver in the capital provision charged by Syarikat Sesco Bhd for private housing developers to all their low-cost housing projects.
22. Minister of Regional and Rural Mohd Shafie Apdal announced RM1.2 million for renovation of 105 longhouses in Sibu Parliamentary constituency.
23. Federal Natural Resource and Environment Minister Douglas Uggah announced RM528 million for secondary phase water mitigation project of Sibu, RM50 million for the improvement of drainage system, and RM30 million for Rajang and Igan river bed excavations.
24. Sarawak Chief Minister announced RM250,000 for the construction of school hall of Igan Secondary School. He also announced RM600.00 for each of the 246 houses there as well as, in another ceramah on the same day, RM600.00 per house for long houses in Rh Dieo, Penusuk,Bawan Assan. Hampers were also given away at the ceramahs. He came in 2 helicopters to Rh Dieo and left in a government vehicle. The Star paper never mentioned that the `allocations’ of RM600.00 per house is intended to buy votes from the long house folks.
After Pakatan leaders came to Rh Juna the government departments Kemas and Jasa came to neutralize their campaign attacks. The way they do it is to give talks and, most popular of all, dance `pocu-pocu’ with the villagers!
25. Deputy Prime Minister cum Federal Education Minister Muhyiddin Yassin handed over a cheque of RM500,000 for St.Mary School during a dialogue session with 4,000 teachers at Sacred Heart School.
26. Youth and Sports Minister Ahmad Shabery Cheek promised assistance to more sports development in Sibu and Sarawak under the 10MP.
27. Transport Minister Ong Tee Keat announced RM150 million Sibu Airport upgrading project.
28. Health Minister Liow Tiong Lai announced that Sibu Hospital will be upgraded to become a tertiary and excellence centre. He also promised upgrading of 1Malaysia Clinic at Sungei Teku and announced a 1Malaysia Clinic for Sungei Bidut.
29. Deputy Minister of Rural and Regional Development Joseph Entulu Belaun officiated Risda’s replanting programme of rubber and oil palm.
30. Sarawak Deputy Chief Minister Alfred Jabu Numpang campaigned for BN at the launching of the Rural Electricity Supply Scheme (RESS) at Busang Braoh longhouse at Bukit Kis, Peninjau, Sibuti. He critised the opposition especially PKR and DAP for supporting the request of the former Communist Party Malaya (CPM) to return to Malaysia. He reminded Sarawakians to give and show respect and honour to the fallen soldiers, especially those from Sarawak, by not supporting the Opposition.
31. Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation (MOSTI) Maximus Johnity Ongkili announced the allocation of RM18 million for 165 projects to ensure modern technologies are extended to the rural communities in Sabah and Sarawak. He made this announcement during the launching of a computer lab using solar power at SK Nanga Tutus in Sungai Tutus.
32. Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin announced the allocation of RM1.2 million for the development and upgrading work in Kampung Baru that covers a surau, paving of roads, drainage and a new toilet for Abang Ali School.
33. Minister of Regional and Rural Mohd Shafie Apdal announced RM88 million for Sibu under the 9PM while launching the “Mara Bersama Rayat” session.
All kind of campaign tactics were used by BN to dissuade voters to change-including comparing change to altering Sibu’s famous dish Kampua.
RISDA allocate 6.5mil to small holders, who were also given a 1 week all-expenses paid course while staying in Tanah Mas hotel.
Fisherman given RM200.00/month
In the above mentioned function, BN also abused government departments and programs, civil servants (teachers, police), vehicles, buildings etc to advance their campaigning agenda. Neither the Election Commission (SPR) nor the anti-corruption agency (MACC) take action on them or reprimand them.
In one of the function on 13 May at Pasai Siong, SEW counted 15 vehicle plate with QSG that belong to Sarawak government. These vehicles belong to government departments such as Public Work, Agriculture, Information (JPN) and LKIM. SEW also observed QSG car parked at yellow line area during the official function at the Sibu Post Office while Minister of Information Communication and Culture Rais Yatim was present. SEW also spotted the use of vehicle of the Deputy Prime Minister and the Chief Minister of Sarawak during the nomination day and polling day.
SEW heard Sarawak Deputy Chief Minister Alfred Jabu repeated the talk on former communists killed Iban while campaigning at the longhouse in Pasai Siong. His talk was highly instigative of ethnic tension.
3. DAP campaigners denied entry to 4 long houses
According to Malaysiakini report Tony Pua complained that their campaigners were stopped from entering 4 long houses for campaigning purpose:
1. Rh Pasai Siong-Teresa Kok
1. Sg Sebedil-Assemblyman Sao Kian Xiang, who was threatened by BN campaigners in presence of SPR EC officials;
2. Penansu -MP Tan Kok Wai, who rented a room there
3. Tg Bekaka -DAP campaigner
Such practice should be stopped in the interests of making every voter hear from all candidates and make informed choices.
4. Public building abused for partisan campaigning
SEW wrote a letter to the Enforcement team to test their efficiency-but the enforcers never took down the banner.
5. Enforcement teams’ secretive number-why?
The EC claimed that they received only 7 complaints from the voters since the beginning of the election in Sibu. But how many voters know the number to complaint to the EC? How many knows the enforcement team’s numbers? After persistent effort we got hold of the operation center of the enforcement teams’ number-but we still have problems to get through to them! Are they so busy they can’t take calls? That may explain why they only receive only 7 complaints so far!
SEW called the number provided by the Returning Officer’s office to contact the Operation Center of the EC enforcement teams but never seems to get through! The number provided is: 346812. SEW asked the public through its web site to give the enforcement teams a call and alert them to the various vote buying and other transgression on the Election Offences Act. While there are 6 enforcement teams-2 for each state constituency in Sibu, their contacts are kept as a secret-and need to be contacted via an operation center.
Later we found the contacts for 2 enforcement teams numbers for Palawan area-so we publicized them through the web site so that voters could try their luck to request them to take actions on election irregularities:
Palawan : En Fisal 019-8680303
En. Abang Jamali Don 019-8440820
6. Opposition MP banned from entering Sarawak
MP Gobalakhrismnan has been sent home at airport-a sign of intolerance by the state government which control the immigration into Sarawak.
7. Abuse of civil servants in BN’s campaign eg teachers
Despite warning by the State Secretary before the election for the civil servants to stay away from campaigning activities, SEW observers report that most civil servants are pressured to attend BN’s campaign programs:
A teacher who attended this afternoon’s education department function felt cheated because it was actually a BN campaign with DPM cum Education Minister Muhyiddin Yassin openly delivered campaign speech to the 3,000 teachers assembled at Sacred Heart Secondary School. The function started from the morning with the Parents-Teachers Association, then proceeded to a session with the teachers in the afternoon, then followed by a dinner in the evening with the school principals. The candidate Robert Lau junior was there on the stage but did not speak. The teachers had no choice since they are selected to `represent’ the school.
RM500,000 cheque given to a school to finalise Muhyiddin’s campaign.
The function was organised by the Education Department with the Education Department officers also speaking at the function. It was reported also that the DPM delivered a RM500,000.00 cheque to a school at the end of the session with the teachers.
Muhyiddin openly asked the teachers to vote for BN while highlighting the BN Government’s investments in education and rural development. What he did not say was he was abusing his position and the Education Department to further his campaign-a form of abuse of power and corruption identified by the Anti-corruption Act 1997.
The teachers who were there asked a number of questions which the DPM could not comprehend and therefore could not answer.
8. Campaigning before election-isn’t it illegal?
A government owned newsagency reported a campaign activity before the official campaign period is announced here:
|For better future, vote BN, says PM||//|
|SIBU – Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak on Sunday called on the people of Sibu to vote for the Barisan Nasional in the Sibu parliamentary by-election on May 16.
“The BN should be the choice for hope and better future,” he said at a meet-the-people session in Sungai Merah town, here.
Accompanying him were the BN candidate Robert Lau Hoi Yew, Chief Minister Taib Mahmud, Deputy Chief Minister Dr George Chan Hong Nam, Defence Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and BN component leaders.
Najib said he, Taib and all BN ministers and representatives, would give the fullest support to Lau, who is known among the people here as Robert Lau junior, in discharging his duties upon his election.
Najib also said that Sibu had the potentials to grow further owing to the entrepreneurial skills of its people.
Meanwhile, the Prime Minister’s wife Rosmah Mansor on Sunday also called on the people, especially women, to continue backing BN so that the progress they are enjoying will be inherited by the next generation.
She said the BN government was constantly making efforts to raise the participation of women in the socio-economic development of the country and also provided a host of facilities towards realising this objective.
“The contribution of women in the country has always been appreciated by the BN government and there is no gender discrimination. The administration model stresses gender equality besides the 1Malaysia concept which champions the interests of all Malaysians.
Ensure a resounding victory
“That’s why there is no reason to change the government,” she said in her meeting with some 400 women members of Sibu BN and Sarawak non-governmnetal organisations, here.
Rosmah also advised BN women members who would be canvassing for votes in the upcoming Sibu by-election to work extra hard to ensure the coalition achieved a resounding victory.
She said the BN winning the Hulu Selangor by-election last Sunday served as a source of inspiration to go all out to ensure a big win for the BN in the Sibu by-election.
Rosmah said she also hoped women leaders would be agents of change for women overall and help produce more women leaders who were disciplined, creative, forward looking, competitive and enterprising besides having high moral values.
Meanwhile, Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) Wanita deputy head Fatimah Abdullah described the meeting with Rosmah as very inspirational.
“The participants are all fired up to do their parts in ensuring a big win in the Sibu by-election,” said Fatimah, who is also Minister in the Sarawak Chief Minister’s Office.
The by-election has been called following the death of Deputy Transport Minister and five-term Sibu MP Datuk Robert Lau Hoi Chew from liver cancer on April 9. Nomination day is May 8 and polling on May 16. — Bernama
9. Public debate cancelled
A public debate agreed by the 2 main contending parties at the Sibu by-election was cancelled just a day ahead of the scheduled event when the SUPP side pulled out citing party’s disapproval. If it was carried out it would have provided the voters an unprecedented opportunity to make their assessment. Public debates have been rare in Malaysian elections-avoided by BN candidates mostly-but also some times by the Opposition.
Conclusion on campaign observation:
In view of the abuse of widespread abuses of government programs, government vehicles, government personnel and blatant abuse of government allocation to win votes by BN candidate the administration of the election campaign was fundamentally flawed and failed to ensure a levelled playing field.
E. Media monitor
Media Monitor on Sibu By-election –Final Report
(May 10th-15th 2010)
- Media monitored
This report is the final report of a small research into the performance of print media during the Sibu by-election. This project is part of the election observation project of Sibu Election Watchers’ (SEW).
The final report of the media monitor takes an overall view of the print media over almost the entire election period – covering from May 10th-15th 2010. It is hope that the extension of the study till the end of the campaign period will show more of the performance of the print media when the crunch come! Maybe we get to see more of their true colour then!
This media monitor, monitored 4 print media over 6 days in the last part of the election campaign period ie from May 10th, to 15th, to assess their relative objectivity and professionalism in the coverage of the Sibu by-election. Comparison is made with the paper’s performance for the first 3 days (taken from the 1st report) to see the progress of the press coverage towards the end of the campaign period.
- To assess the relative performance of the 4 media organizations in terms of press coverage on the parties to clarify their relative positions in this; Such ranking is hoped to spur the media owners to improve their performance and to set up a healthy competition among the press to improve service in terms of keeping the readers well informed and to enable them to make informed choices in elections;
- To publish the results after polling to enable the voters to take the press performance into consideration when they vote next time; The report will form part of the preliminary report of the election observation mission by SEW.
5. Media monitored
The 4 print media are:
- See Hua Daily (Chinese, among the biggest circulation Chinese daily in Sarawak)
- Sin Chew Daily (Chinese, among the biggest circulation Chinese daily in Sarawak)
- United DailyNews (Chinese,Miri based)
- Borneo Post (English, biggest English daily in Sarawak)
We scan the paper to locate the following features of the coverage of the parties involved in the Sibu by-election:
- Number of news items on the 2 parties;
- Number of news items on the 2 parties on the coloured pages(in contrast to black and white pages)
- Relative size of each news item (graded from 1-12, 12 being for full page)
- Whether each news items has photo as illustration
- Alignment of news item –whether pro-BN, pro-PR or neutral;
- Whether the news items is on BN, PR or both)
- Topic coverage : if the topic is about allocating government fund, government projects, or criticize the opponent;
Within the human resource and time constraints the media monitor aims at only capturing the main features of media performance in terms of objectivity and professionalism. It does not intend to do a comprehensive quantitative study.
BP: Borneo Post
UD: United Daily
SH : See Hua Daily
SC: Sin Chew Daily
1. News items in colour
Table 1: News items in colour for BN vs PR May 10th-15th
News items in colour for BN vs PR May 10th-12th
1.Ranking in terms of news items in colour: the paper rank as follow(with no. 1 as best in terms of balance): Sin Chew Daily > Borneo Post > United Daily > See Hua Daily
Change: The difference in coverage of United Daily and Sin Chew become bigger as time goes by.
2. Overall all papers give more number of news items to BN than PR by notable margin, especially towards the end of the campaign.
3. Comparing the paper’s performance to the 1st 3 days the contrast between the 4 papers become noticeably more accentuated and their relative ranking firmed up further.
2. Average number of news items
Table 2: Average number of news items for BN vs PR May 10th-15th
Average number of news items for BN vs PR May 10th-12th
1. Ranking in terms of the balance of the average number of news items devoted to BN & PR in 4 paper are as follow(No. 1 as best): Sin Chew Daily > United Daily > See Hua Daily > Borneo Post
2. Overall the news coverage in terms of average number of news items favours BN over PR by notable margin.
3. Same firming up of trend in first 3 days is observed here as in 1st comparison ie the trend towards the last 3 days is to favour BN even more than before.
3. Average allocation of space
Table 3: Average allocation of space for BN vs PR from May 10th-15th
Allocation of space for BN vs PR from May 10th-12th
- The ranking in terms of the balance of spaces allocated to BN and PR among the 4 paper are as follow(1st being most balanced): Sin Chew Daily> United Daily > See Hua Daily > Borneo Post
- The spaces allocated to BN and PR for May 10th-15th shows more pronounced contrast among the 4 paper compared to 1st 3 days(see 2nd table), showing that as the time get clower to polling day the space given to BN vs PR approach 4:1 in See Hua Daily and Borneo Post, both paper owned by the KTS, the family of the BN candidate
4. Space allocation for BN vs PR
Space allocation for BN vs PR by See Hua Daily May 10th-15th
Space allocation for BN vs PR by United Daily May 10th-15th
Space allocation for BN vs PR in Sin Chew May 10th-15th
- In terms of space allocated to the parties See Hua Daily allocated marginally more space to PR on the 1st day and the position was switched from the 2nd day onwards.
- The same trend, on lesser scale is observed in all other dailies. Only exception is Sin Chew where equal space was given to 2 sides on the last day before polling.
- The rankings of news balance identified here, as done by the media monitor members shows that. BN appear unmistakably as the favoured side in the election especially as the polling day approaches. All except Sin Chew on the last day, threw away their balanced reporting approach at the beginning of the study. It confirms that time tells. The closeness of the Sin Chew and United Daily for the first 3 days was disproved at subsequent days –showing more clearly their divergence in their respective coverage policy on the 2 sides
- While the family interests explained the more pronounced media bias of the KTS owned paper (See Hua and Borneo Post) the results of the election shows that the readers assume `critical reading’ mode in reading the paper ie they probably read the paper with suspicions, having known well the expected bias of the family owned paper.
- The 2 other paper which are aligned to BN also shows their true allegiance as polling day approached. Their credibility also suffer though to lesser degrees.
- Bias media coverage,as the media monitor confirmed in this study on Sibu, has been rejected by the readers/voters if the election result was any guide. The media should do well to review their policy to stay in the market as the favoured media of the readers with a changed taste. This is a `market demand’ which cannot be avoided for long before the paper may lose readership especially to online media as the online media may become more accessible in the future.
- Specifically 2 measures identified from the 1st report, can be targetted to avoid or mitigate against political interference into press freedom:
a. Abolish the Printing Press Act which require annual renewal of printing licenses, so that more media can compete to serve the readers better;
b. Ban political parties from owning media including paper so that reporters can do their job more freely and professionally. The propensity of the party aligned owners to intefere into news reporting as proved by this study shows that they are a liability to the paper themselves.
May 18th 2010
Notes on media:
1. RTM program on Bakun Dam resettlement scheme censored due to Siby by-election
Other than the report above there was a related media event which took place because of Sibu by-election-where the election was made an excuse to stop the airing of a RTM documentary on Bakun Dam. The daily program had started transmission up to the 2nd episode when it was pulled. The documentary which scrutinize the re-settlement problems in Sg Asap was stopped by the RTM management on account that it may become sensitive to air it during the election. The contract for the producer/journalist Chou Zee Lam was subsequently terminated after Chou mounted some public protest about the censoring of the program. Political interference from higher up was suspected in the stopping of the program, which touched off considerable public protests among the civil society in West Malaysia.
2. Sarawak’s media
The media has been known to be bias in favour of BN-but to different degrees. The Chinese papers are more competitive since they are run by rival timber tycoons: the KTS (See Hua Daily-the biggest circulation paper) and Rimbunan Hijau(Sin Chew). This competition caused the 2 major dailies and other city-based dailies to give coverage to all sides of the elections, fearing any void would advantage the opponents. However there is a pattern that the news covered are mostly BN news in front covers, with DAP news -almost in equal column inches, in the inside pages.
English press Borneo post (owned by KTS) and Eastern Times (Owned by PBB) and the Malay daily Utusan Borneo (KTS owned) are said to be rabidly pro-BN.
There are only 2 radios stations for Sarawakians-Federal run RTM(with different languages timeslots) and Cat Radio-started by timber tycoon Ting Pek King and now run by George Chan’s daughter who had been married to Sulaiman Mahmud, the CM’s son. They are said to be bias in favour of BN. All TV stations are KL based and other than TV8 & TV9, all TVs and Astro are available in Sarawak. The only advantage to Sarawakians on TV is that they can openly install the big parabola (satellite disc)receiver to access satellite transmission from all over the world-but practically they can only access free Indonesian program where they can understand the language. Such installations are largely illegal in the Peninsular in a policy to keep the people uninformed.
There are no or little mobile network and internet once you go out of the city limits-so the information flow to the rural areas is infamously lacking. However the younger generations are sending information back to their long houses-and in time to come there could be a change in mindset. Within the city limit where there is internet accessibility it was found that the Opposition campaigners made full use of the new social media to connect to their voters and supporters from all over the country. This remains the only area of the media where the Opposition campaign can more than match the ruling party.
3. Monitoring Bernama on Sibu coverage
Bernama reported BN:DAP news in 20:6 ratio-fair?
A news agency with a name.
From a simple count of the news items covered by the government news agency Bernama from beginning up to May 4th 2010 the number of news on BN is 20, DAP/PR is only 6, and neutral news is 2, and the SPR/Police news are 4. Of the BN news, 12 are campaigning news while 1 is a project news. All together 32 news items are surveyed today. Is this a fair coverage of news by a tax-payer supported news agency?
The news on DAP has a funny feature: most of the 6 news were about nominating its candidates, while BN’s news are of wider diversity. There is also a feature in that the news agency seems to avoid negative comments about any side. For BN campaign news they are mostly quoting BN big wigs in talking positively about their campaign and campaign chances. This may make them seems preferable to mainstream printed press which go out of the way to campaign for BN through their news coverage as well as their opinion pieces. However can such coverage convey to the readers the debate between the candidates/parties? Isn’t election about allowing voters to make informed choices from among the candidates/parties?
Conclusion on media observation:
The surveys on the media performance shows that the media monopoly exercised by the ruling party through the control over government funded media or media owned by the business allies of the ruling party, have expectedly failed to provide fair coverage to all candidates in the service of voters who deserved to make fully-informed decisions at the polling booth.
F. Financing Observation
There is no auditing conducted to check if the candidates and their party behind has over spent in terms of the legal limit of RM200,000.00 specified for their election expenses under the Election Offences Act 1954. However by general impression-including media’s recognition, both candidates together with their party could have breached the legal spending limit specified for a parliamentary seat. While there is a legal loophole to exclude party expenditure in the accounting of the officially required candidates’ election expenses, the lack of auditing and control on the election expenses allow elements of tremendous disproportionality and unfairness to the election. To make it worse the financing for the campaign for the incumbent party could come significantly from the public coffers at Federal and State levels!
At the level of official allocations there is however an account of the amount distributed during the official campaign period viz RM37.72mil, which was disclosed at the Parliament.
The ruling party’s attempt to justify the allocations as something planned before the campaign period was not accepted by the Opposition party as refelected in the media report attached below. The intention to induce voters to vote for the incumbent through the hand-outs is clear for all to see. A term has even been created in political science to described such vote inducement through the giving of official goodies during election campaign ie pork barreling! In countries like Philippines there are explicit laws to prohibit public allocations, announcing new projects, giving out tenders etc 3 months ahead of any elections! This is a clear example where the ruling party is riding roughshot over the Opposition party by abusing official fund for their own campaigning purpose. The excuse used by the ruling party has been based on a precedent left from a court case a few decades ago where the court held that ministers are entitled to make allocations during all time-including during election campaign. Such ruling should be changed as some bad rulings by the court had been over-turned later.
MP Wong Ho Leng’s inquiry into public allocations during Sibu by-election
A reply from Parliament is reported here
BN made Rm37.72mil allocations during Sibu by-election
PM Department claim RM37.72mil allocation during Sibu by-election were pre-planned-thus not corruption
Lee Wei Loon June 23rd
The Sibu by-election which was made memorable by the Prime Minster’s `golden’ words`You help me, I help you’ , continue to court controversy: the Prime Minister Department announced today that all the RM37.72mil allocations made during the 8-day campaign of Sibu by-election were pre-planned. The PM Department admitted that there were 107 allocations and projects involved:
a) 66 allocations, costing RM28,674,050.00
b) 40 hardware development projects costing RM8,503,332.00
c) 1 community project costing RM550,000.00
Total cost was RM37, 727,382.00
The PM Department made the disclosures in reply to question by Wong Ho Leng in Parliament. Datuk Nazri said that no allocations was ever made during the 8-day election campaign period (which was not planned ahead), which apply to all other elections.
DAP’s dissatisfaction on this reply is reported here:
DAP refer Najib to Privilege Committee for misleading Parliament
June 24, 2010
Najib claimed in his reply to the DAP queries that all the public allocations made in relation to Sibu by-election were done before the by-election-thus not violating any corruption law. DAP pointed out that , among others, the RM5mil allocation promised at Rejang Park was made on the eve of polling-thus Najib has misled the Parliament.
While the chance of Najib being disciplined by the BN dominated Privilege Committee is close to nil the action to refer Najib to the Committee can be damaging to the PM especially to his high rating according to Merdeka Center’s poll. He is now caught red-handed for a lie that is difficult for him to clean up or ignored. Without coming clean his vote buying will also stick around longer than he hope it would! It is the voters’ rights to get good answer why the PM can buy votes with public fund and to bribe votes during campaign period!
It was significant to note that public dissatisfaction was so high that the former chief of Transparency international Tunku Abdul Aziz criticized his successor for not speaking out against the blatant vote buying at the Sibu by-election.
Conclusion on campaign financing: There is no regulation on campaign financing in the country. The law regulating it is hardly enforced in an attempt to give advantage to the more resourceful ruling party which tap into government resources to support their campaign. Unregulated campaign financing introduce elements of unfairness and lack of transparency into electoral competition.
G. Election administrators’ neutrality
1. Malaysian elections are jointly administered by the Election Commission –which is the principal administrator, the police-which deal with crimes and investigations, Malaysian Anti-Corruption Agency-which solely deal with corruption issues, and Local Governments –which deal with the use of public buildings and spaces for campaign purposes.
2. SEW thank the EC and Returning Officers for their cooperation they extended to us despite their refusal to give us official accreditation as election observers. Despite a doubling of the Election Commission budget to RM1mil there is a visible over-deployment of personnel at urban polling centers while there is insufficient personnel at rural polling centers.
In addition SEW takes it seriously that the Election Commission altered its voters turn out rate from 59% to 70%, a change of over 10%, without any explanation. Such action could only seal the impression that the election administrator was incompetent, manipulative or partisan;
3.While SEW thank police personnel for being responsive and cooperative to SEW observers during the election observation we find the deployment of 2000 outside police to be unjustifiable in peaceful Malaysia and a waste of money. By contrast Hulu Selangor by-election before this with a bigger electorate and area used only half the police to provide security. There is a prevalent impression that the heavy police presence was to serve as some form of intimidation to the voters so that they would not vote to change the status quo in politics.
In many instances the 50m boundary of the polling center were not marked off by a yellow tape which we understand had been provided to them, as though to let the party supporters do as they like.
4. The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Agency had not projected any profile during the election where perception of corruption is prevalent. There was no public education about the offences under the Election Offences Act or the Anti-Corruption Act. There was not a single prosecution after that as well.
The apparent lack of actions against the perceived prevalence of abuses of power and vote buying paint a picture of election administrators who are not neutral. The impression is that the election, if compared to a soccer match, is umpired by an absentee/disabled referee.
5. Six enforcement teams have been appointed in Sibu by-election. This is a report from SEW observers’ encounter or lack of encounter with them:
SEW sent 2 observers to the Street and Drainage Dept of the SMC (Sibu Municipal Council) to meet an appointed head of one of the 6 enforcement teams created by the EC this morning. Mr Jong was very friendly to speak to us. He said that the 6 enforcement teams will be geographically deployed, with 2 teams allocated to each of the 3 state constituencies. An operation center accessible by the public will help direct public complaints to the appropriate enforcement teams. When asked if they will take action against parties which has started campaigning ahead of official campaign period, Jong said the teams will start operation only after nomination day-but he volunteered the information that many parties are already campaigning in rural areas, away from media attention.
He further informed us that their attention is more on checking the banners and ceramahs for permits, not the entire Election Offences Act. For example, he said that the abuse of government facilities will be enforced by the relevant departments-not the business of the enforcement teams. There will be a second briefing on the enforcement teams on May 7th where the party representatives will also be briefed of their duties.
The enforcement team will consist of SMC official, police and candidates’ reps representatives. Violators of election regulations will be fined up to RM5000.00 for each offence. But overall, the impression is that they could be just a toothless tiger put there for show. The limitation on what they can enforce mean that they will be used to be window dressing by the EC where the abuse of power by ruling party politicians will go unchecked;
5. SEW consider the lack of neutrality of the various election administrators as deriving from their lack of autonomy in the government structure. In most countries the Election Commission would be appointed by the parliament and hearings are held on the Commissioners’ appointment to ensure they carry out their duties in the most impartial of ways. In Indonesia the performance of the Election Commissioners are even monitored by some other government agency. In Malaysia the EC and the MACC are still put under the command of the Prime Minister Department-hence making it difficult for the EC and MACC to act against their superiors who are contesting in the elections. The Police are part of the Home ministry where their actions have been criticized as partisan for many years eg in the way they deal with public assemblies. Opposition assemblies are dealt with harshly while pro-ruling party assemblies are given the close-1-eye treatment.
6. Another way that constraint the EC is the budget control-which disallows them to plan more public education on voters’ rights and the offences under Election Offences Act. It is a positive move that the EC’s budget has been doubled since Hulu Selangor by-election to over RM1mil.
7. Another area where the EC is hamstrung is the appointment of Returning Officers from the ranks of the District Officers. Since District Officers work under the command of the politicians they are equally conditioned not to act against their political bosses during elections. In other countries more autonomous judicial officers and academics are tapped to become Returning Officers.
8. Next the polling staff are normally recruited from among the civil servants especially the teachers. Generally civil servants are expected to be non-partisan-below is a reminder for civil servants to stay away from politics-something which the civil servants have no power to stick to when ordered by the politicians eg Teachers who fail to turn up at official functions where BN do campaigning, have been said to suffer from serious reprimand. Notice that the report only focus on the offence of civil servants who involved in opposition politics and not those who involve in ruling party politics.
Stay off politics, says SS
by Perry Ragam (Borneo Post)
May 5, 2010, Wednesday
State civil servants advised to serve the govt of the day and remain true to their jobs
KUCHING: The state’s civil servants have been advised against getting involved in any political manoeuvring on the ground.In a brief remark made before he rushed to another function yesterday morning, State Secretary Datuk Amar Mohamad Morshidi Abdul Ghani said it was particularly wrong for civil servants to be involved in opposition politics simply because they were government servants, hence should serve the government of the day.
He said he would not like to hear complaints of government servants getting actively involved with political parties during election as such action could tarnish the good image of the civil service.
“Work diligently and serve the people the best you can and you will be rewarded,” he said when handing over the state contingent flag to Deputy State Secretary Datu Ose Murang, as the head of contingent for the 2010 Solidarity Labour Day Assembly.
Reporters hoping to ask him to elaborate on actions he might take if members of the state civil service did indeed get involved in opposition politics, however, failed to draw him aside as he made a quick exit for another appointment.
Members of the state civil service are known to be ‘neutral’ in as far as open display of political affiliation is concerned, although there were cases in the past that necessitated disciplinary actions, especially transfers.
In most such cases, the civil servants concerned were known to have caused a lot of ill will and disharmony among local communities that keeping them at their stations had become untenable.
Earlier, Morshidi advised civil servants in the state not to take their responsibilities lightly but to do their work with full commitment and initiative.
“It can definitely be done by using the ‘High Performance Team’ which is more creative and innovative in order to provide better services in every sector,” he said.
“All kinds of transformation had been done by the government to try to help civil servants get higher salary within 10 years,” he explained, adding that every servant who performed well would be rewarded.
He also added that the Chief Minister’s Quality Award, which will be held today along with the State Public Service Conference, proved that the government was caring towards the public sector in the state.
Morshidi also reminded officers in the Chief Minister’s Department to prove that Sarawak was able to provide international level services by the year 2020.
The assembly will be held on May 8 at the Malaysian International Exhibition and Convention Centre (MIECC), Mines Resort Centre, Kuala Lumpur.
A total of 80 officers from 10 units in the Chief Minister’s Department, Yayasan Sarawak and Rumah Sarawak, Kuala Lumpur attended the function.
The director of Human Resource Management Unit Datu Misnu Taha was also present.
Conclusion on election administrators’ neutrality:
All the election administrators involved in the Sibu by-election are showing their lack of neutrality either in their selectivity in enforcing the Election Offences. Act or in refraining from taking action against the prevalent abuses of power and public resources by the ruling politicians. Their weakness derive from the way they are recruited and appointed-which put them below the command of the politicians who run in elections.
H. Security Observation
1. Meeting the Police
On May 1st SEW send a delegation to meet the police chief in Sibu to introduce ourselves and to enquire about the security arrangement. We met the friendly Sibu police Chief ASP Shafie Ismail at his office-where he gave a run down of their security arrangement-which involves deploying 2000 outside police to secure the entire campaigning period. The 2000 police used for Sibu by-election, with a voter population of about 55 000, seems to contrast strongly to half of the police force (1000) used to provide security to Hulu Selangor by-election with 65 000 voters. Unless some explanation is forthcoming to justify the vast expansion of the security requirement in Sibu SEW consider the heavy security presence to be not justifiable or warranted.
ASP Shafie Ismail thought the situation is peaceful so he is open minded to give permit to a public debate between the contesting parties should one be organized.
A report on the security arranegement for the Sibu by-election is here:
|KUCHING – A total of 2,000 police personnel will be deployed for the Sibu parliamentary by-election next month.
Sarawak police commissioner Mohmad Salleh said today they would be sent there in two batches.
“We will send 350 personnel there tomorrow,” he told reporters after presenting a cheque for RM33,600 from the police cooperative and MCIS Zurich insurance to Selai Aji, the widow of Sergeant major Limbai Joseph, who died of kidney disease.
Mohmad said the remaining personnel would be despatched on May 3 or 4 and 350 vehicles, including boats and high-power motorcycles, would be provided.
The hot spots in the constituency were being identified for security monitoring, he said in a Bernama report.
2. Police presence linked to secret societies?
SEW was in no position to pursue this link which may need longer time frame. But judging from the evidence from a most recent report on the issue (see below) SEW consider that it does not make a convinsing case for such heavy police presence. Normal policing by non-corrupt police force should be capable of handling the situation. Even the report itself thinks that the Sibu voters can still enjoy a free vote despite the underground elements.
April 26, 2010
Gangsters haunt Sibu by-election
By Keruah Usit (Malaysiakini)
Local politicians have also become embroiled in controversies concerning gangsterism, corruption and decadent living.
In 2007, for example, Bintulu MP Tiong King Sing (right) engaged in a war of words with the late five-term Sibu MP Robert Lau Hoi Chew.Tiong claimed Sibu was a haven for gangsters, and insinuated that the gangs had influence with the local police.
His claims prompted Bukit Aman to launch an anti-gangsterism operation in the state. The police then announced an official investigation into an unnamed deputy federal minister and several other local political figures, for alleged involvement in gangsterism, illegal logging and attempted bribery of senior police officers. Lau was one of the five deputy federal ministers from Sarawak at the time.
The day after the police statement, Lau took the unusual step of insisting publicly that the police ought not to announce the nameof the politicians, unless there was enough evidence to charge them in court. The name of the deputy minister under investigation was never released. Lau succumbed to cancer on April 9, and was honoured as a noted philanthropist.
The underworld’s powerful influence
Local gangs or secret societies retain a powerful influence in Sibu society, on both sides of the political divide. Many gangs contribute their logistic support and humanpower during election campaigns, putting up posters and ferrying supporters around, for a price.
The underworld also plays a significant role in determining the outcome of urban elections in the state. Election observers say rich politicians can influence voters’ decisions by providing conventional payment for votes, as well as employing more creative methods of vote-buying.
A rich politician might place large bets on his opponent using illegal gambling syndicates, so that the odds on his opponent would shorten, while the odds on the wealthy politician would lengthen. As a result, punters would place more wagers on the wealthy politician, and would then canvass for votes for that politician among their families and friends.
Yet despite the impediments of gangsterism and gambling, the voters of Sibu will still have an opportunity to have their voices heard in the next three weeks.
3. Police’ heavy presence to deter `outsiders’ threat?
It is easy for certain quarters of Sarawakians to point fingers at `outsiders’ for `troublemaking’-even though what that means is rather nebulous-and make for arbitrary enforcements. Betting and bottle throwing may seems fair enough as trouble making-but are they brought in by `outsiders’ -or they are something that arise from the over zealousness of party supporters, and bad planning on the election timeline that leave too short a time for nomination? Then how about comparing such `law breaking’ with the big ticket items eg vote buying, abuse of government machinery, making public allocations to fish for votes etc which contravene the laws? Despite this there was a report on the police targeting outsider:
SIBU: Police will monitor the presence of certain outsiders who will be coming here to disrupt peace during Sibu parliamentary by-election.
Sibu police chief ACP Shafie Ismail said here on Thursday, May 6, they would not spare efforts to stop troublemakers who came with intention to create problems.
Speaking at a press conference, he said all parties involved in the by-election had been told to advise supporters to abide by the law.
“I don’t want incidents like throwing of bottles or stones to happen in this by-election. We just can’t afford to have lock-ups filled up with election offenders.
He said sufficient number of police personnel would be deployed to ensure that peace prevailed throughout the by-election.
On allegations of illegal betting on the by-election result, Shafie said that no police reports had been received on the matter.
He assured that police had sufficient resources to monitor the issue and would take the necessary action should there be any truth to the allegations.
Shafie advised contesting parties to apply for permits from police before holding political rallies.
He said although normally applications should be submitted at least one week in advance, an exception was made to accept applications made in one day.
“Please give all the necessary details to facilitate us in processing the permits,” he said, advising speakers to refrain from making derogatory remarks. — Bernama
4. There were no real security flash points except a minor incident on polling day as reported by our observers there:
1.17pm: FRU sent to SK Perbandaran 3, Nangka
The campaigning outside SK Perbandaran 3 seems to go to overdrive: FRU were sent in from the morning to calm down the 2 sides who campaign hard for their candidate and almost came to a blow at one stage. There are no party tents set up. EC do not used yellow tape to separate the 2 sides, which are located on either side of the road.
Conclusion on security observation: There seems to be an over-kill to station 2000 police at great cost to the tax-payers at the Sibu by-election. There is concern that the over-whelming police presence could create a fear factor to the voters-thus inducing them to retain the incumbent candidate.
I. Polling Day Observation
1. Polling of Postal Voters
While SEW was not accredited by the EC as official observers we managed to peep into an early part of the postal voting ie at the point where the ballots were distributed to various polling stations for postal voters. It was carried out at the DO office. A report by SEW observers is here:
Postal votes inspection: result of observers’ pressures?
May 12, 2010
The Returning Officer is Wong See Meng on the left.
This afternoon at 2.00pm the EC allowed the media and party agents to observe the preparation of postal votes for distribution to 3 polling centers-1 police and 2 army personnel. It is not clear where the SPR’s 1100 polling staff, some of whom from this constituency, are forced to use postal vote will be casting their vote.(Actually they voted at the DO office which served as a polling station for the polling staff and also some of the police). So the total postal votes will be more than the 2500 postal votes listed in the electoral roll, when the EC polling officers are included. The inspection was only for a short time and therefore not possible to allow a full certification that the process was done with complete integrity. The postal votes has become a sham because the administration of the postal votes within the police and army camps will be entirely handled by 200 over police and army personnel-not EC polling officers as stipulated by the election laws. EC has lately even suggest to increase the categories of people who can use postal vote-may be in view of the fact that postal votes have been giving high return to the ruling parties.
In the past the operation of the postal votes are entirely non-transparent. Due to tremendous pressure from the public the SPR EC has slowly allowed some aspects of the postal votes procedures to be inspected -but not totally observed, by the party agents, media and other observers. So the progress can be credited in some way to the pressures from the observers. Since SEW didn’t have a chance to observe the polling by the postal votes we reproduce here a media report to give a glimpse of the polling process:
|Sibu: Pengundian Pos bermula esok|
Proses pengundian pos bagi pilihan raya kecil Parlimen Sibu akan bermula esok di tiga tempat di sini dari 8 pagi hingga 5 petang.
Penolong Pegawai Pengurus pilihan raya, Justani Joni, berkata tempat itu adalah ibu pejabat Polis Bahagian, Kem RASCOM dan Kem Batu 10 Jalan Oya.
Bercakap kepada pemberita di Sibu hari ini, beliau berkata pengundian di Ibu Pejabat Polis Bahagian dijalankan hanya esok sahaja manakala bagi kedua-dua kem tentera itu pula, ia akan berlanjutan sehingga Jumaat.
Beliau berkata 2,537 orang akan melaksanakan tugas sebagai pengundi di ketiga-tiga tempat berkenaan.
Sementara itu, Justani berkata 271 pekerja Suruhanjaya Pilihan Raya yang layak mengundi tetapi terbabit dalam pilihan raya kecil itu akan mengundi di Pejabat Daerah Sibu mulai 2 petang esok.
Pengundian pos secara percubaan diadakan di Pejabat Daerah Sibu hari ini.
There are postal voters who cast their vote in a number of special polling centres. According to the press report the polling `went smoothly’ (see media report below)-but that did not explain why 190 voters didn’t return their ballots paper. They are entitled to bring the ballots paper out of the polling centre, in contrast to the rule for ordinary voters. This exposed them to the potential for vote buying. In addition the whole process is closed to election observers-so we were not able to observe the event and give feedback to them.
May 13, 2010 20:00 PM
Postal Voting Process Goes Smoothly At Police Headquarter, Army Camps
SIBU, May 13 (Bernama) — The postal voting process for the Sibu by-election proceeded smoothly at Sibu’s divisional police headquarters and the RASCOM and 10th Mile Road military camps along Ulu Oya Road here today.
Sarawak Election Comission (EC) chairman Datuk Takun Sunggah said the casting of ballots would continue tomorrow at the two army camps from 9am to 5pm.
He said this was to enable 1,910 army personnel who had yet to vote to do so.
He said the polling centres at the police headquarters and at the District Office at Wisma Sanyan were opened only for that day to allow 627 policemen postal voters and 217 EC workers to vote.
“The police personnel cast their ballots from 9am to 2pm while the EC workers from 2pm to 5pm,” he said.
Meanwhile, sacks containing the ballot papers from the three venues were delivered to the EC office at the District Office after 6pm Thursday.
Among those present to witness the event were EC secretary Datuk Ngah Senik, Assistant Returning Officer Justani Joni and representatives from the participating political parties.
Sibu has 54,695 registered voters comprising 52,158 normal voters and 2,808 postal voters and 45 polling stations.
The tallying of the ballot papers will be held at the Civic Centre here on polling day on May 16.
The by election is a three-cornered fight between the Barisan Nasional’s Robert Lau Hui Yew, DAP’s Wong Ho Leng and an independent, Narawi Haron.
2. Polling of Ordinary Voters
1. Contrary to international practices SEW observers were not allowed to enter the polling centers on polling day on May 16th by the Election Commission. However the 20 trained observers who were split into about 10 teams with 2 members each were able to observe the election from around the polling centers to give meaningful insights into the operation of the polling day. SEW observers managed to observe the polling centers, including the settings before the sealing the center. Each team observed about two centers with two mobile teams moving around and lodge complaints as well as keeping each other informed. Due to distance and lack of human resource and transport means we left out several rural area polling centers. In this sense, the observations were focused in the urban areas and the outskirts of Sibu.
Generally SEW found that polling, counting of votes, accumulation of returns from polling stations and announcement of the election result was carried out quite peacefully.
2. SEW laud the Election Commission and the Returning Officer for acting to stop party supporters from setting up tents outside the polling centers which could become a gathering point for the party members who insist on breaking the law against campaigning on polling day. Unfortunately such enforcement only occured at urban polling centers and not in rural areas. In any case due to the lack of enforcement on this law many polling centers saw campaigning continue for the whole day on polling day-some by quite senior leaders from both sides. The oft-repeated intention by the EC to enforce the no-campaigning rule on polling day ended up unfulfilled as all elections before.
The EC state chief Dato Takun (he got his datukship after the poll) brought a few staff to close down a PKR-staffed info booth at the SRK Methodist School polling centre in the morning. SEW observers were around to support the action-since the prohibition of campaigning on polling day has never been enforced all along. It is an international standard to have a non-campaigning period –also called a `cooling period’ ahead of and including the polling day.
Sarawak EC Chief Dato Takun showed party campaigners the laws banning polling day campaigning.
SEW found party booths set up by both SUPP and DAP at the entrance of several polling centers, including SJK Methodist, SJK Kiong Hing and SJK Nang Sang. The party agents mending the booth conducted checking on voters roll and drinks were handed out at some booths. However, booths at SJK Nang Sang and SJK Methodist were dismantled after intervention of EC when SEW reported to them. SPR promised to do the same at SJK Kiong Hing. However SEW was not able to verify if the booths were dismantled.
SEW observers sent in a report on a sequel to the EC action to stop a party tent in the morning-which apparently was not consistently carried through in the evening:
There is a sequel to the closing down of the PKR tent in front of Methodist primary school. We received complaint that the EC set up 2 tents but only used one. Then towards the afternoon the supporters of BN and PR had a shouting match at the entrance of the Methodist school -resulting in the SUPP supporters crossing over the road. Then willy nilly they enter the EC unused tent without objection from the EC personnel who was supervising the 4 EC personnel staffing the computerised EC counter.
Then the complaint was that SPR allowed the SUPP to use their tent while they closed down a PKR tent in the morning. I came to the scene around 4.00pm where the tent was occupied by some people including SUPP personnel. I asked them why they can have a tent for themselves while the other side was stopped from using similar facilities. They claim that SPR allowe them to use it. I went over to the next tent to ask the SPR officer. The
EC officer try not to answer the question; even claiming that the tent does not belong to EC.
A lot of to and fro later the SUPP agreed to leave the tent. In between I called the RO Mr Wong See Meng -and he said he was not clear of the situation and would send a person to look into the situation. Until I left at closed to 5.00pm there was nobody coming from the RO office to look into the situation. The extra question to ask is: why the EC set up 2 tents when they only need one? Is there any link to the fact that the EC budget had doubled to Rm1mil for this by-election?
Another report showed that party tents were tolerated in rural polling centres:
While the SPR is taking down party’s tents in front of SRK Methodist they have not been able to do the same in polling centers at the outskirts of Sibu eg Pasai Siong, SK Tiong Hin in Teku etc. If this go on then the policy to stop campaigning will once again be frustrated.
The opposition has blamed the short campaign period for their insistence to keep on campaigning till the last minute, contrary to the common understanding that the return from such campaigning is not encouraging. Most voters would have made up their mind on polling day-and seldom get swayed by anything they see on the way to polling station to change their vote.
While SEW acknowledge that the candidate from the Sarawak opposition suffered huge disadvantages in the by-election there are also instances where their party workers and elected representatives are not willing to cooperate in upholding the no-campaign rule on polling day, contradicting the practice of democracies else where.
3. Use of party vehicles to transport voters-while not allowed by law it is practised by both sides.
Suspected SUPP supporters arranged vehicles to ferry voters to SRJK Chung Hua
DAP also have their smaller transporters which cannot equal their rival’s
4. Campaigning was going on by both major candidates during polling day eg according to our observer: The `tradition’ of carrying on party campaigning on polling day continue at Sk Perbandaran 3.
Paper left outside thr Methodist School poling center-but few people picked it up, probably due to partisan slant?
5. Surveillance on students and voters were also going on:
A university vehicle with number plate QAR 1162 was seen parking outside Tadika Chung Hua with at least 3 men inside-what are they doing? As in past elections the university authority sent vehicles to the polling centres to monitor students who involve in party campaign. Quite a few cases had been brought to the university disciplinary board-with a number of them stopped from continuing their study.
6. SEW also observed that in rural areas EC does not supply wheelchairs for the disabled voters, unlike in urban polling centers. All the town polling centers were equipped with wheelchair some seem to be over supplied by 4 units while we found no wheelchair for most of the rural polling centers such as SJK Kiong Hing, SJK Aup and SJK Pasai Siong. The latter two are located up in a hill slop which makes it difficult for the disable.
Wheel chairs only provided at urban polling centers?
7. SEW noticed that there were people who recorded voters’ attendance at the gate of the polling centers either manually or with video camera, which can be intimidating to the voters recorded. Offenders include personnel from the PBB party, KEMAS (a government department) and DAP. SEW found two polling centers at SJK Chung Hua and SJK SRDC NO.3 were filmed from beginning to end with a fixed video camera. The cameramen said they were working for SPR. Other than this there are also party workers from both sides who record voter’s attendance –a practice which could be linked to vote buying.
Cameraman claimed he work for SPR-but when contacted the RO cannot ascertain his identity. The RO said he would investigate later-but there was no reply from him on this.
9.15am SRK Tiong Hin: PBB supporters are recording IC of voters from outside the fence of the school. DAP supporter express unhappiness. Observer contacted Enforcement team about this action which may be linked to vote buying.
A party worker recording the voters’ attendance-for what?
8. Voters’ serial number recorded on voting stream slip-why?
A complaint raised by a SEW observer on this is as below:
After the SPR gave assurance in the press that the serial number of voters which can be used to identify a voter, will not be recorded at the polling station anymore the polling clerks at SRk Rejang Park where one of our observer cast her vote, said that they record the voters’ serial number for `checking’ purpose! The observer said that her daughter who voted at SK Tiong Hin did not see them recording the voters’ serial number. When contacted RO Wong See Meng was surprised that this happened and suggested that the clerks did not listen to the briefing properly. I told him that this had happened before when the polling clerk still remember the old instructions even though the law to stop the recording of serial number was passed in the last state election in 2006!
Our observer has sent an SMS to RO Wong See Meng after she failed to get through to him on the phone:
Complaint: My name is Teo Sew Eng. IC : (withheld to protect privacy), a voter at SJK Taman Rejang wish to lodge a complaint on the SPR Vote Checking Kerani at the said school that they wrote the electoral serial number on the kertas saluran given to me and all other voters at the said station. I view this practice as contradicting to the secrecy of voting. Please take (action) on this.’
When contacted RO Wong See Meng said he will check on this.
Another detail is at Sk Tiong Hin where the complainant’s daughter voted the saluran paper was kept by the voter, whereas at SJK Taman Rejang the polling clerk insisted on taking back the saluran paper.
While the recording of the serial number on the voting stream slip may not jeopardize the secrecy of the vote-however there is a question: why do they do it? Is it part of the standard operation procedure-since it is not observed in all polling centres? Won’t such actions create confusion to the voters-noting that previously there was a practice to record the voters’ serial number on the counter-foil of the voting paper –which was stopped due to its potential to threaten the secrecy of the vote.
3. Counting, Tabulation and Announcement of Results
1. SEW was disappointed that the results of the election was not announced promptly at 9.00pm as announced by the SPR chairman before. It was announced 2 hours later at 11.00pm. The delay of announcement of election result gave a negative impression as if there were effort to temper with the results;
Late announcement of election results caused many anxious voters to wait under the rain at the vote-tabulation centre at Dewan Suara. An exchange between EC & DAP on who/what caused the delay can be read in the Post-election section of this report.
As to the problems from the postal votes counting please refer to accounts of what went on in the press clippings. SEW observers were not allowed into the locations where the vote counting, including counting of postal votes, took place. We can only rely on 3rd party sources-including those from the party agents, to gain a rough picture of what took place. If election observers were allowed into these locations for vote counting we definitely be able to play a role to help verify the integrity of the processes involved.
In the event the election results are as follow:
Party Candidate Votes %
Pakatan Rayat –DAP Rochard Wong Ho Leng 18,845 49.7%
Barisan National – SUPP Robert Lau Hui Yew 18,447 48.7%
Independent -Narawi Haron 232 0.6%
Majority 398 1.0%
Turnout 37,919 69.32%
Spoilt votes 395
2. SEW is also disappointed that the voting rate was changed from the earlier figure of 59% to 70%. The EC SMS Malaysiakini, according to Malaysiakini’s report, that the voters turn out may increased beyong 60%, while earlier the rate was announced as 59.86%. Well for this modern age how can the voters turn out be not known after 5 hours that polling has ended? In the event the voting rate was changed to 70 %-without any explanation-which tarnish the EC’s image on competency and transparency. When EC explained that the discrepancy was due to them waiting for the postal vote result it appear as a lame excuse since the turn out rate does not depend on the result of the postal votes at all.
The failure also cast doubt on the turn out rate announced by the EC all throughout the day.
Conclusion on polling day observation: Though the observers were not allowed access to the entire process the polling day observation covering polling, counting, tabulation and announcement, which cover both ordinary voters and postal voters, were marred by irregularities that call for a full auditing of the process especially on the postal votes. The rules governing admissibility of the postal votes should be tighten if the postal votes were to be cast in similar fashion in the future. The lack of transparency on the process apparently backfires on the election administrators who were found to give unconvincing excuses for the irregularities and thus undermine their credibility.
J. Observers’ access
1. Sibu by-election was preceded by unprecedented level of election observers bashing by the ruling politicians:
Look like election observers bashing has extended to the Senate! Senator Idris Buang reportedly try to paint election observer group MAFREL as bias and partisan in a Senate debate. His evidence: MAFREL is registered as a business entity with RM2.00 paid up capital. MAFREL managed to bring out `thousands’ of volunteers-so must be funded from overseas and become foreigners’ spokeperson! Lastly his `homework’ led him to say that a founder of MAFREL had been a PKR Youth leader. While SEW cannot speak for MAREL specifically the reasoning given are stereotype prejudices which ruling politicians like to air to confuse the public about the honourable roles of election observers in general! They must therefore be refuted!
Firstly many NGOs who find it taking too long to apply for society registration in Malaysia resort to registering themselves under business registration-which only take 1 day! The Government can easily get NGOs to register under ROS-just register them as quickly as you register a business! Why registering public interests oriented body take longer than profit oriented body-it baffles many!
Secondly: For every Ringgit of aid given to NGO thousands more go to the Government from foreign governments under their various foreign aid programs. If receiving foreign aid imply becoming their stooge the Government should stop all foreign aid that come into Malaysia straight away-including multi-million military aid! It is not easy to know if the founder of MAFREL (There are numerous) mentioned was a PKR youth leader at the time that MAFREL was founded or at other time. The Senator from PBB never provide more details to make his allegation more credible. Why the deliberate silence?
Back to the bigger picture of election observation: it has been a mostly volunteer based citizen movement all over the world, where the numbers go up to half a million in Philippines at one time! The reason: many citizens find their country’s elections badly run, or even rob citizens of their real votes! They want to keep an eye on their elections-to take ownership of the elections so that the best leaders can be elected to lead them. It is a right nobody can take it away from them-not even when the EC said they don’t `need’ them. The words didn’t mean they are `banned’ from observing elections in Hulu Selangor or Sibu as interpreted by some reporters.
Observers will still operate outside the polling centers and will keep pressuring the SPR for accreditation-a right which many countries affirm in their laws so as to give more credence to the elections they hold! Malaysia remains one of the few countries which do not allow accreditation to election observers, whether local or internationally, as a matter of legal right. EC hold absolute discretion over whether to give accreditation to observers-thus allowing it to veto its own public monitors. The reason for giving this power to the EC cannot in any way be justified on public interests ground!
So citizens who don’t like abuses of government facilities, positions and functions for campaigning; don’t like vote buying with instant government projects, allocations ; don’t like the SPR to operate under partisan control under the PM Department; they should all join in the few election observer groups to show that Malaysians can also come out in the thousands, as had happened in Malaysia’s regional neighbours, to do something for public good -even without big fat allowance as suspected by the unelected Senators !
Should observers be worried about being increasingly bashed by politicians? Look like this is a `KPI’ that the pressures from observers are working -and get on the nerve of the politicians- whose elections may not be deserving if the elections were clean!
2. EC has no need or scared of observers?
SPR is at it again: they said that SPR don’t need independent observers! But could it really be: SPR is scared of observers? All the excuses given are spurious: if MAFREL did not submit their 9 reports EC can still give accreditation to other observers who can! If they claim that the enforcement team can take the place of independent observers to give feedback: where have been their feedback reports for all the time since it was created by the Parliament? In fact they are not empowered even to enforce a fraction of the Election Offences Act 1954-they can only deal with minor issues like banners and posters. Also the party representatives are outnumbered by civil servants like EC, police and Council members-how can their views be heard? The unsaid reason is: EC could be embarassed by their own poor records in terms of competence and independence! The last international election observer who came to Malaysia ie those from the Commonwealth, judged that Malaysian elections were free but not fair. The judgement in 1991 probably still ring true today.The SPR’s arrogance has probably been bolstered by the doubling of its by-election budget: RM1.2mil-twice the amount spent in Batang Ai!
The following is the report on the SPR’s view on Election Observers:
May 04, 2010 14:01 PM
No Need For MAFREL Or Other NGOs To Monitor Sibu By-election: EC
SIBU, May 4 (Bernama) — There is no need for MAFREL (Malaysia for Free Election) or similar non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to be independent observers for the coming Sibu by-election.
Election Commission Deputy Chairman Datuk Wira Wan Ahmad Wan Omar said today it had taken detailed steps to ensure the election, with its nomination day on May 8 and polling on May 16, would be carried out in the most fair and transparent manner.
“MAFREL was not needed in the recent Hulu Selangor by-election. We are not going to need them as observers for the Sibu by-election.
“We will have formed six enforcement teams. Representatives of all the candidates will be invited to be members,” he said.
He said their inclusion would allow them to be observers at the polling centres, the tally centre and to monitor the process of campaigning, and the teams would be just as good, he told a media conference after a briefing session with all those involved here.
He said although the EC had recognised the MAFREL roles in the past nine by-elections before the Hulu Selangor, they had failed to send any feedback or reports to the EC.
“The voters or candidates need not worry. We have done 12 general elections and more than 300 by-elections in the country so far and we have been regularly fine-tuning our system.
“The inclusion of representatives of all the candidates in our enforcement team is assurance enough of fairness and transparency,” he said.
Wan Ahmad meanwhile reminded all candidates and their representatives to have good knowledge of the election rule and regulations.
He said it was compulsory for them to obtain the police permit before any gathering for the police to monitor and ensure public security.
He said a budget of RM1.2 million had been allocated for the by-election.
On the announcement of the result, he expected it to be done before or by 9pm or the latest at 10pm on May 16.
Conclusion on observers’ access: the excuses given to exclude observers from the Sibu by-election given both by the politicians and the EC are not convincing. The election administrators lost one support which can help verify the integrity of the conduct of election in Sibu.
K. Post-Election Observation
While the SUPP party threatened to challenge the election result of Sibu by-election no petition was filed up to the deadline for filing such complaint. However there were numerous electoral complaints raised by various parties in the media which were largely replied in the media as well. Since these debates help clarify the electoral complications we reproduced below some relevant post-election complaints:
1-DAP’s complaint of postal votes
2-DAP’s complaint of votes buying
3- EC’s complaint that DAP agents held back announcement of election results
1. Complaint on postal voting from DAP
19 Mei 2010
Yg Bhg Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof
Suruhanjaya Pilihanraya Malaysia
ADUAN RASMI MENGENAI KELEMAHAN DALAM PERJALANAN PROSES PILIHANRAYA KECIL SIBU
Dengan segala hormatnya saya merujuk kepada perkara yang tersebut di atas.
2. Saya bagi pihak DAP ingin membuat aduan secara rasmi kepada pihak SPR mengenai beberapa perkara berkenaan proses pengundian dan pengiraan undi untuk PRK Sibu khususnya mengenai undi pos seperti berikut:
i) Beberapa Kod Undi Pos melihatkan undi yang kembali melebihi undi yang dikeluarkan. Ini melibatkan Kod 708, 6 undi dikeluarkan dan 24 yang kembali, Kod 429, 160 undi dikeluarkan dan 161 kembali serta Kod 43, 47 undi dikeluarkan dan 67 kembali. Bagaimana ia boleh berlaku ada lebihan undi yang kembali daripada yang dikeluarkan? Ini menimbulkan keraguan tentang kesahihan undi-undi ini.
ii) Terdapat 290 pengundi yang dikatakan petugas SPR pada hari pengundian telah memohon untuk menjadi pengundi pos. Undi pos dikeluarkan pada 12 Mei dan barung pengundi disediakan untuk mereka mengundi. Mengapa petugas-petugas tersebut tidak mengundi pada ketika itu dan dibenarkan untuk membawa pulang kertas undi mereka? Apa alasannya? Pada 15 Mei, ejen DAP mengesyaki beberapa kesahihan beberapa “pengundi” yang datang membuang undi (gambar dilampirkan). Beberapa orang ini melarikan diri apabila diminta untuk menunjukkan kad pengenalan. Terdapat 190 pengundi daripada kategori ini tidak memulangkan undi mereka selepas kita membuat bantahan secara terbuka. Dalam senarai 290 pengundi pos ini juga, kita mendapati seorang daripada mereka bukan pengundi berdaftar iaitu Justin Leo B. Lewis (540131-13-5063)
iii) Setiap undi pos perlu dikembalikan dengan satu surat akuan yang perlu ditandatangani oleh seorang saksi. Semasa proses membuka sampul undi pos tersebut, ejen undi pos DAP telah membantah beratus-ratus surat akuan tersebut yang mempunyai tandatangan yang meragukan daripada saksi yang sama. Walaupun, ARO undi pos telah menerima bantahan kita dan menolak undi-undi tersebut, namun pegawai SPR Pusat yang bernama En. Ismail telah menolak keputusan ARO dan menerima semula undi-undi tersebut. Apa justifikasi untuk pegawai SPR menolak keputusan ARO? Dalam surat akuan yang sama, banyak surat yang meletakkan alamat yang tidak lengkap namun tetap diterima oleh pegawai SPR tersebut walaupun pihak kami membantah.
iv) Keputusan undi pos dilambatkan selama 2 jam oleh pihak SPR yang menyebabkan proses pengumuman keputusan keseluruhan lewat lebih dari 2 jam daripada yang dijangka. Walaupun proses pengiraan undi pos tamat pada jam lebih kurang 8.30 malam, namun pihak SPR mengambil mengambil lebih satu jam untuk menjumlahkan semua undi pos tersebut. Tambahan pula, SPR tidak mengeluarkan Borang 15 kepada ejen calon. Atas bantahan keras kami, maka pegawai SPR menunjukkan kepada kami Borang tersebut yang tidak mempunyai tandatangan kedua-dua pihak. Mengapa perkara ini berlaku dan menidakkan hak kita untuk mengambil Borang 15 itu sebagai bukti rasmi jumlah undi yang diperolehi?
v) Mengapa SPR memilih Rumah Panjang sebagai tempat mengundi? Di peti undi Sg Sebedil, ejen mengundi DAP telah dilarang memasuki tempat mengundi yang terletak dalam Rumah Panjang Limbang. Di peti undi tersebut, DAP hanya mendapat 5 undi. Bagaimana perkara ini berlaku dan SPR tidak berdaya untuk memastikan hak ejen mengundi parti yang bertanding dipertahankan?
3. Saya berharap pihak SPR akan mengambil berat tentang isu-isu yang dinyatakan di atas dan kami menyeru SPR membuat siasatan terperinci dan memberikan satu jawapan kepada pihak kami dalam masa yang terdekat.
Sekian, terima kasih.
Berkhidmat untuk rakyat,
LOKE SIEW FOOK
AHLI PARLIMEN RASAH
KETUA PEMUDA SOSIALIS DAP
A report on more complaints on postal votes by DAP:
DAP’s rep alleged the following discrepancies in the postal ballot return:
Loke said the most serious discrepancy was that several codes (police or army personnel voter-groupings) saw returned ballots in excess of the number that were issued on May 12.
He identified Code 708 (police) where six ballots were distributed, and 24 returned. Code 429 (army) saw 160 ballots issued and 161 returned. For Code 43 (army), 47 were issued and 67 returned.
The second discrepancy, noted Loke, involved the 290 ballots that were issued to EC workers who applied to be postal voters because they were working on polling day.
Loke said that about 200 of such voters did not vote on the same day (May 12) and went home with their ballots, which he argued could then be “sold”.
“If taken out of the polling centres, ballots become a commodity to be sold. Now, no one will know who actually marked those ballots that were issued,” he said.
How about those `postal voters’ who came to cast the votes in the following suspicious manner:
Loke added that there were also dubious individuals among the 200-odd voters who returned their ballots yesterday, some of whom refused to be identified by party scrutineers.
“One person looked more like a VCD seller than an EC worker (left). He had some young people with him. Our people tried to check their ICs but they all claim that they forgot to carry it with them,” he said.
The third discrepancy detected by DAP was that out of the 290 postal voters who were EC workers, two were not even in the electoral roll.
“When we demanded for their IC, they promptly left,” he said.
Some replies from EC are reported here:
Published: Wednesday May 26, 2010 MYT 5:45:00 PM (Star)
EC to review postal voting system
By NG AI FERN
KUCHING: The Election Commission (EC) will review the current postal voting system to minimise disputes in future elections.
However, amendments to the related legislation have to be done before the changes can come into effect.
The commission was apparently prompted to review the system by the many technical difficulties encountered in the recent Sibu by-election.
EC chairman Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof said Wednesday they would study the proposal to call for an early voting session for army personnel, policemen and EC staff instead of posting votes.
However, the new system will only come into place and be applicable after all required legislation is passed.
“The postal vote is so technical. The delay in counting postal votes in Sibu by-election was due to many disturbances and shouting outside the room that stressed the staff counting the votes.
“In addition, EC staff were stopped from bringing out ballot boxes containing these already counted postal votes. They were only brought out to Dewan Suarah Sibu after the situation calmed down,” he told a press conference.
He said the turnout for Sibu by-election was 70%, including postal votes, and it was reported as 59% earlier because they were waiting for the result of postal votes.
Abdul Aziz stressed that the by-election was carried out fairly and there was no manipulation involved, especially in the postal votes.
“We cannot change the result because the votes are already counted at polling stations. There is no manipulation from EC.
“Whichever party the people like, that party will win. We cannot fight the sentiment of people,” he said.
He clarified that there was no issue of more postal votes received than the total votes sent out as accused by certain parties.
“There were 2,827 postal votes in Sibu, we received 1,879 votes from army personnel (out of a total of 1,910), 596 votes from policemen (out of 627) and 162 from EC staff (out of 290).
“A total of 190 postal votes were not returned, including 128 from EC staff, 31 from army and 31 from policemen.
He stressed that army, policemen and election staff was free to vote but EC could not force them to return the votes and the trend of not returning postal votes happened throughout the country.
He said all state EC directors were told to watch out for shift of big group of voters.
He also explained that long houses were chosen as polling stations in Sarawak because there were no schools or nearby halls.
2. Complaint of vote-buying by DAP
‘Najib violated election law’
May 17, 10
DAP chairperson Karpal Singh has accused Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak of “all too obvious” and “blatant” vote buying during the Sibu by-election which concluded yesterday.
“One day before polling, the PM went to Sibu, and this is what he said. ‘I want to make a deal with you…can we have an understanding or not?’ The understanding was quite simple, I help you, you help me,’” said Karpal.
He was referring to an event where Najib had addressed voters in the DAP stronghold of Rejang Park on the eve of polling day, based on a May 16 report in English-language daily Sunday Eastern Times.
Karpal alleged that Najib had sought to strike a bargain with the mainly Chinese crowd to secure a win for BN candidate Robert Lau, in return for a RM5 million federal government allocation for flood mitigation work in the area.
Calling it a shameful act by the PM, he contended that “this is an offence under Section 10(a) of the Election Offences Act”.
The parliamentarian explained in a statement emailed to the media later a person shall be found guilty ‘for the offence of bribery if a person offers or promises any money to a voter in order to induce the voter to vote or refrain from voting’.
“I wonder if the PM knows the law. I’d advise him to carefully go thorugh the Election Offences Act. The PM could lend himself in jail. If he’s not careful we may have a by-election in Pekan,”
He was speaking to reporters in Parliament today, after the first meeting of the rights and privileges committee, which fixed June 8 to hear Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim’s explanation regarding his Apco-OneIsrael-1Malaysia remarks.
‘EC must investigate’
Karpal, the Bukit Gelugor MP, called on the Elections Commission (EC) to have the PM investigated.
Karpal said Najib’s phrase ‘Do we have a deal? If Robert Lau wins, we will give you RM5 million’ has said it all.
He stressed that, in his opinion, Najib’s statement “is not a commitment, it’s a clear case of blatant bribery”.
“I’d advise the DAP leaders in Sibu to make a police report”.
“The MACC must come into it. It’s too serious coming from a PM. It can’t be accepted. We don’t want a precedent like this to be set.
“Of course there have been (election promises) like this in the past but this one is too obvious to be ignored. This cannot be dismissed.”
EC’s reply to karpal’s complaint:
EC passes buck to MACC over PM’s Sibu ‘offer’
By G. Manimaran and Neville Spykerman
May 20, 2010
Najib speaks during a BN rally in Rejang Park, near Sibu. — file pic
KUALA LUMPUR, May 20 — The Election Commission claimed it had no power to probe allegations Datuk Seri Najib Razak had committed an election offence during the Sibu by-election with his pitch to solve flash floods there if Barisan Nasional retained the Parliamentary seat.
Instead, the Election Commission (EC) told DAP Chairman Karpal Singh to take his complaint against the prime minister to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC).
“We can still take the complaint but will refer it to the MACC,” said EC deputy chairman Datuk Wira Wan Ahmad Wan Omar, adding they had no authority to investigate the alleged “promise” made by Najib, in his capacity as PM and finance minister.
The veteran lawyer has said Najib’s last-minute pitch on the eve of the by-election, when he announced an allocation of RM5 million for flood-mitigation projects in Rejang Park, was an election offence.
“If Robert Lau becomes the MP on Sunday, on Monday I will ask [for] the cheque to be prepared. Do we have a deal or not? We do! You want the RM5 million, I want Robert Lau to win,” Najib told the crowd last Saturday.
Karpal has been told to refer the allegations to the MACC.
Karpal had described the PM’s statement as “disturbing,” “shameful” and “unprecedented” because it breached the Election Offences Act.He had called on both the EC and MACC to investigate the case.
But Wan Ahmad said the Election Offences Act only governed offences by candidates and their agents.
He also said other persons, included cabinet ministers, who make promises, cannot be charged for the offence of inducement or bribery under the Act.
“We cannot investigate anything other than what’s specified under the Act… we don’t have the power.”
However, Section 10 of the Act which covers bribery during elections uses the words “every person would be liable for an offence”.
Wan Ahmad, in turn, pointed out that a 1981 court case had ruled that it was not an offence but in line with the responsibility of the government to ensure development and allocate funds regardless of whether there was an election.
He was referring to the election precedent established in the case involving the Pengkalan Kota by-election between Teoh Teik Huat and Lim Kean Siew.
The case revolved around a statement by then-finance minister Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah, who had said he would personally give more money for the improvement of Pengkalan Kota if Barisan Nasional won.
The incident three decades ago mirror’s what happened in Sibu.
The issue of using development to fish for votes also surfaced during the Hulu Selangor by-election three weeks ago.
But it became more pronounced in Sibu because Najib had used the word “if” while making the conditional offer to voters.
Wan Ahmad expressed confidence the PM knew the risk and the legal implications before making the statement.
“I also feel Karpal was viewing the issue from his perspective. But other legal experts may look at it from other angles and have other interpretations,” he said.
3. Complaint of DAP’s agent delaying the announcement of results!
|SPR salahkan DAP lengahkan keputusan undi|
Suruhanjaya Pilihan Raya (SPR) menolak dakwaan DAP bahawa mereka sengaja melengah-lengahkan pengumuman keputusan undi pos pilihan raya kecil kerusi Parlimen Sibu malam semalam.
rusi SPR, Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof, berkata ejen parti itu sebenarnya yang telah menghalang pegawai suruhanjaya itu daripada membawa keluar peti undi pos yang sudah dikira di Tingkat 9, Wisma Sanyan, untuk dibawa ke Dewan Suarah Sibu, kira-kira tiga kilometer dari situ, untuk penjumlahan undi.
Berikutan itu, katanya, penolong pegawai pengurus pilihanraya yang mengendalikan urusan pengiraan undi pos terpaksa memanggil polis untuk mengawal penyokong parti berkenaan.
“Inilah kali pertama saya melihat keadaan seperti ini berlaku selain pegawai-pegawai kerap diganggu ejen parti,” katanya.
itu, keputusan pilihanraya kecil itu hanya dapat diumumkan oleh pegawai pengurus pilihanraya, Wong See Meng, kira-kira 11 malam semalam, walaupun SPR sebelumnya menjangka keputusan dapat diumumkan pada 9 malam.
Calon DAP, Wong Ho Leng, memenangi pilihanraya kecil itu dengan majoriti 398 undi setelah memperolehi 18,845 undi menewaskan calon Barisan Nasional, Robert Lau Hui Yew, yang mendapat 18,447 undi dan calon Bebas, Narawi Haron, meraih 232 undi.
Bilangan undi pos pada pilihan raya ini ialah sebanyak 2,429 undi.
Abdul Aziz juga kesal dengan sikap beberapa pemimpin pembangkang dari luar Sarawak yang tidak menghormati peraturan semasa berada dalam dewan penjumlahan undi.
“Mereka cuba menunjukkan mereka boleh membuat apa sahaja tanpa perlu mengikut peraturan dan ini tidak baik dan tidak harus ditunjukkan kepada orang tempatan di sini yang tinggi semangat hormat-menghormati,” katanya.
Secara keseluruhan, Abdul Aziz berkata pilihanraya kecil di Sibu boleh disifatkan antara yang terbaik berbanding pilihanraya kecil yang diadakan sebelum ini.
DAP’s reply is reported here:
Sibu postal votes: The drama on Sunday night
May 18, 10
DAP won the Sibu by-election, but conspiracy theorists claim that what transpired in the few hours before the final tally was announced could have changed the results.
sibu by election 070510 robert lauIn the dying minutes of the final count, the DAP’s Wong Ho Leng was leading by 2,651 votes ahead of SUPP candidate Robert Lau (right), after all 110 ballot boxes were counted with only the postal votes remaining.
The drama surrounding the release of the postal votes result was worthy of its own television series as DAP leaders and Election Commission officers argued and pointed fingers, throwing everything but the kitchen sink at one another.
And just so the SUPP didn’t feel left out, some DAP leaders raised suspicions that the local party and the EC were working in cahoots to rig the votes.
DAP Youth chief Anthony Loke said they had a lot of reasons to be suspicious, claiming inconsistencies in the signature of witnesses for at least a few hundred postal votes. All postal votes have to be validated by witnesses.
Fuelling further suspicions, Lau and his polling agents had parked themselves at the postal vote counting centre at Wisma Sanyan – about three kilometres from the main tally centre in Dewan Suarah – even before counting had begun.
“He stayed until the end. As it was, the counting itself started late, at around 6pm and finished around 8.30pm,” said Loke.
“The votes were packed into their boxes and were ready to be moved to the polling centre, but the RO (returning officer) was holed up with SPR officials in a room for two hours.
“We were told they were tabulating the figures. They kept on delaying and we got nervous because we were worried that there might be an attempt to fix the postal votes,” he said when contacted.
Showdown at Sanyan
The drama came to a head at around 10pm when an EC official named Ismail told EC workers to start bringing down the ballot boxes without issuing the Form 15, which is a standard requirement in any election to prove the final tally for postal votes had been completed.
NONE”We verbally told them not to touch the boxes. That was when I called a chief inspector to take over the security situation,” said Loke (left), commending the swift police action in sending several officers up to tape off the area where the boxes were kept.
At this juncture, Loke said an EC official finally came up to show them the form, which he claimed had not been signed by polling agents from either DAP or SUPP.
“But we saw the figures and found we would still get the majority, we decided to leave (albeit) in protest,” he said, pointing out that by then he had lost track of time.
Back at the counting centre at Dewan Suarah, the postal votes arrived at around 10.30pm, and after it was included in the overall final tally, returning officer Wong See Meng announced Wong Ho Leng the winner with a 398-vote majority.
Based on the final figures released by the EC that night, SUPP received 2,323 out of the 2,827 total postal votes, while DAP got 70 and independent candidate Narawi Haron got 30. 208 postal votes were rejected and 190 unreturned.
EC blames DAP
SUPP Sibu information chief Daniel Ngieng however called the DAP’s antics “hooliganism”, echoing his Sibu chief Wong Soon Koh’s view that the DAP led an “unruly mob”.
“We are very surprised with the attitude of the DAP. We have to leave it to the EC to do their job. Everyone has to follow procedures.
“We cannot harass the election workers. They (the DAP) should know that Sarawakians are very mild people. I’m not complaining, but from what I observed, they are trying to be very aggressive.
“I’m not saying if something is not right, leave it alone… you can claim whatever you want, but at the end, the voters should be given the opportunity to exercise their rights,” he said when contacted.
The EC, particularly its chief Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof (right) on Monday denied DAP’s claims that the EC were delaying the postal vote count, pointing the finger back at the DAP for being the ones stalling the announcement.
The DAP Youth chief rubbished the accusation, explaining that they had good reason to stop the boxes from being moved, but the delay they caused was nowhere as long as the two hours the EC took to do the math.
“The boxes can only move once the official papers are out. We probably stalled it for around 20 minutes. There are only 11 ballot boxes, and it would take at the most 30 minutes to tabulate (all of them), but they took nearly two hours,” he said.
Ngieng has shrugged off Loke’s claims as paranoia.
“The last time they said the boxes cannot be kept at the police station because they would get short-changed, but all the boxes are sealed. Why worry?
“Even I myself am not too happy with how they (the EC) are so sticky with minor things, but that’s just how it is done.
“If I were petty, I would raise many things that the DAP have done, but at the end of it all, we just have to accept the results,” he said.
Conclusion on Post-election observation: The post-election process was drawn out with many issues remained to be debated months after the polling of the Sibu-election-reflecting the immense impact of the election performances of all parties involved. The explanations for the various irregularities remain unanaswered even after extended debates-showing an unwillingness on the part of the ruling party and the election administrators to face up to their failure to put a closure to all the disputed areas of the election administration.
The Sibu by-election operation has been analysed from 10 aspects in this report: 1) Electoral Roll Verification-unsatisfactory; 2) Nomination Day Observation-unsatisfactory;
3) Campaigning Observation-highly unsatisfactory; 4) Administration Neutrality Observation-highly unsatisfactory;
5) Financing Observation-highly unsatisfactory; 6) Media Observation-unsatisfactory; 7) Security Observation-unsatisfactory;
8) Polling Day Observation-highly unsatisfactory;9) Observers’ Access-unsatisfactory; 10) Post-Election Observation-highly unsatisfactory. From the assessments on all the areas under observation it appears that the conduct of the election could not reach to the level of international and local acceptance as a free and fair election, though the performance of each area of observation may vary from the other.
- IC and voters registration problems should be addressed as a matter of urgency so as not to disenfranchise huge section of the Malaysian citizens especially those living in interior areas; If there are problems to register all the eligible citizens as voters then the option of automatic registration should be considered in the interests of safeguarding the right to vote of the citizens;
- Moving of voters to other polling centers should be informed to voters;
- The EC polling staff should exclude local voters who may be bias in discharging their duty. It should be practical for the EC to recruit polling staff from nearby constituency-as had happened for most, but not all of the Sibu by-election.
- EC should clarify policies on moving voters to eliminate suspicion of political interference;
- Voters education by EC should be improved to increase voting rates;
- Candidates’ papers should be displayed to the public outside restrictive zone of nomination center as provided by the law;
- Nomination period should be extended to 1 week to avoid the tense atmosphere at nomination center when party supporters from opposing sides converge in restricted spaces;
- Campaign period: no public allocation, announcement of new projects or awarding of contracts as soon as election is known to be due eg when the vacancy of seat is verified;
- MACC should pro-actively investigate and prosecute vote buying instances which are rampant in this and previous by-election.
- There should be no abuse of local, State or Federal government facilities, buildings, personnel eg civil servants, vehicles, programs etc for campaigning purposes;
- Tuai rumah should give equal access to all parties for campaign purpose so as not to deny balanced information to long house residents/voters;
- Press freedom during election should be addressed by banning party ownership of media;
- Disable/universal access need to be improved at polling center eg avoid steep slopes, long distance to get to polling stations; provision of wheel chairs especially in rural areas;
- Stopping party tents should be enforced in urban center as well as in rural areas;
- Voters identification by EC should be improved eg use indelible ink; use JPN’s data base ie automatic registration of voters; this is to address persistent complaints that voters found their vote having been cast by someone else;
- Party members should not be recruited as polling officials to avoid them campaigning while doing their duty within the polling center;
- Announcement of election results should be prompt-delay by 2 hours undermine credibility of election administration;
- Essential info eg voting rate, should be correctly and regularly publicized; the last minute adjustment of voting rate by 10% need clarification by EC.
- EC should conduct postal votes in ways which as much as possible do not deviate from standard polling procedures with their safeguards. The postal voters should not be allowed to bring voting paper out of the polling station in case they are used for selling the vote-an illegal practice. Secondly the votes should be counted on the spot just as standard procedure.
- To address the significant proportion of especially young voters who cannot return from outstation to vote the EC should allow postal votes for these voters and /or setting up polling stations in big cities eg Kuala Lumpur, Johor Baru, Penang and Kuching where there are a certain number of verifiable voters’ presences. This will help address the persistent pattern of below average voters turn out in Sibu and other parts of Sarawak.
- All bona fide election observers groups –both local and international, should be accredited to enter polling stations without being subjected to restrictions which hamper their job.
Some responses from the Minister on electoral reforms:
Some measures have been proposed/discussed by the EC to improve the electoral administration of the EC-are they answering the calls by the people? What are lacking? Looking at the asnwer from Nazri the EC repeat its interests to extend the nomination/objection period from 2 hour currently to 2 days -with 1 day for nomination and another for objections. Each party would be allowed half a day to file nomination of their candidate to avoid the tension which arise from party supporters congregating in a limited space within limited time. However the proposed change had been reduced from the previous suggestion of 3 days -showing a lessening of willingness to allow more space for the essential electoral process. Observers’ suggestion was 1 week-in comparison to over 1 month for many other democracies in Asia.
Other aspects of the proposed improvement are to allow more voter education -but it remains to be seen how far they go to implement that. Eg are they going to include free and fair election education in school curriculum? Other measures proposed are: 48-hour cooling period ahead of polling day.
However there are many lacking areas eg how to restrore independence of EC? How to ensure balanced media coverage of election campaigns? How to regulate the election expenses? In what ways is EC going to keep up with international standards eg in allowing election observers from local and international groups?
Appendix 1: Press Clippings
1.EC Chief claim Tuai Rumahs are entitled to keep out Opposition campaigners
Another issue arising from the Sibu by-election was whether the Tuai Rumah has the right to stop opposition campaigners from campaigning in the long houses.
There were a couple of cases which we come across where PR campaigners were stopped at long houses: in 1 case the PR campaigners were asked to leave by the Tuai Rumah because they fear that the BN campaigners already inside could cause trouble; in another case a BN minister want the PR campaigners stopped -but the residents objected. Finally the minister was sent off the long house! In both instances it is clear that it was not the Tuai Rumah who were the culprits-at most they were trying to avoid trouble that could stem from intolerant BN campaigners!
In any case the EC’s stand on Tuai Rumah’s power to get rid of opposition campaigners attracted numerous negative responses from Dayaks community leaders:
By FMT June 15, 2010
The Sarawak Dayak Iban Association (Sadia) has slammed the Sarawak Election Commission director Takun Sunggah for his ignorance over Iban customs.
Association president Sidi Munan said Sunggah was wrong to say that the longhouse chiefs had the right to accept or reject visitors including political voters canvassing for votes during the election campaign.
Describing the Iban ‘adat’, or custom, as one of absolute hospitality, he said: “Sunggah’s remarks can be regarded as interfering with the Iban ‘adat’ in allowing or disallowing visitors to come to a longhouse during election times.
“There is no such thing in the Iban custom. Iban customs is inviting and hospitable.“
He said Sunggah was sending out the wrong signals to the longhouses when he issued such a statement.
“Coming from an official of the election commission, it will be regarded as an official statement from the government,” said Munan, who was alluding to Sunggah’s comments in a local daily following the Sibu-by-election.
b)Some comments from SEW Dayak observer:
Thanks Takun, you have made your point and stance clear to the Iban. In today’s Borneo Post you said “The Tuai Rumah has the rights to allow or refuse party campaigners or agents (from any political parties) from canvassing or politiking in the longhouse – in response to Sidi Munan of SADIA comments on 23 May (BP). Good precedent. And never mind about the Iban “Adat” or culture. Even the Malays would not allow anybody enter their house as you said.
Thanks again for your understanding of the Iban Adat. Did you know that the Iban is about the only race in this world to say “Udah ngintu diri kita, or udah neku ke lengan?” Meaning – have you had your lunch/dinner? If not, “stay and eat first.” Nih uduk enti niki rumah diberi makai. Even dogs were given food to eat. This shows how deep the Ibans respect of visitors. Never in their sane mind would they shoo away visitors. As can be seen in the picture, during voting day at Tanjung Penasu, only BN vehicles were allowed entry, and to the opposition it was out of bound. Is this Adat Iban that Takun prefers?
That’s beside the point. Politics is beyond the realm of custom & culture. Who cares whether the Iban remains united in their cocoon longhouse. What matters most is that the BN must win, at the expense of Iban disintegration.
This unprecedented message is out and read by Sarawakian and the Ibans specifically. Takun kicks the ball rolling, so don’t expect the other players not to reciprocate. So to speak, the Tuai Rumah has every rights to kick out those (anembiak) from the longhouse, if they are not BN supporters. But don’t forget, the opposition Tuai Rumah also has every rights to kick-out-the-fella who is not siding him. KEMENANGAN BN DIDAHULUKAN, PERPECAHAN KAUM IBAN JANGAN PEDULIKAN.
2. Methodist churches’ receiving of Rm1.75mil from BN came under attacks
A lively debate erupted after the Sibu by-election on whether the churches should receive politically motivated donations during elections. While there was no resolution-where both sides stick to their respective stand from the beginning, the debate reflect a growing awareness from the public that even the churches-which are normally held in high regards on morality matters by the believers, are no longer beyond reproach on the reception of political donations.
3. Reaction to Sibu election: EC to replace postal votes with early voting!
With postal votes, the police or military administer the polling -which is not provided by the Constitution, which only empower the EC to run elections! With postal voting the procedure is open to abuse eg postal voters are allowed to take the ballots out of the polling stations-eg to sell to someone else-an act which is strictly prohibited by the law! With postal votes the police and military personnel are kept away from the Opposition campaigns -so they only get to be exposed to the BN’s 1-sided campaigning-which make the election unfair and unfree-in fact unacceptable! Under postal voting there are suspicions that thousands of voters cast their vote out of the views of the party agents…
So if the postal vote system is replaced by the early polling administered by EC following regular polling procedures and observed by the party agents and observers, then it will be a vast improvement from the past!This will be an early success for the civil society! The EC should be supported to submit amendments to the Government to approve it at the Parliament ASAP! But why have there been delays?
EC said the reluctance to give up power cause delays in neccesary law changes
May 23, 2010
EC’s no. 2 Wan Ahmad has been articulating the EC’s position more than the Chief himself.
Election Commission No. 2 Wan Ahmad claim that law changes are needed to strengthen the EC and MACC in enforcing the Election Offences Act -but alas, the law changes has been resisted by the ruling parties because they are reluctant to give up power! That prompted an audience from the floor at the TI’s workshop to say that people must put the fear of losing power into the mind of the ruling parties to make them do the right thing in updating our electoral laws!
Wan Ahmad was commenting on how the EC has their hands tied due to no enabling law for them to develop an investigation arm, and that the MACC is not empowered enough to investigate vote buying ala Najib under current inadequate laws. This was received with clapping from the floor-a rare approval for the EC!
Of course at the end of the day the EC is just a civil servant in the PM Dept -unlike in other countries where the EC reign higher than the government in election matters. So the real culprits, following the EC’s argument, are the legislators.
However, there are suspicions about empowering the EC under current situation where the civil servants including the EC, are much politicised. Empowering the EC further will probably give more power to the EC to oppress the Opposition, so they fear. Currently the EC don’t even dare to rebuke the ruling parties eg over rampant vote buying incidents-but they actually look up justifications to rationalise blatant law breaking by the ruling parties in the 2 recent by-elections.
Constitutionally the EC is charged with duty to run the elections on free and fair basis. The critics challenge the EC’s argument that the EC is merely a `management body’ which runs elections without enforcement power. They pointed out that the EC has 6 enforcement teams -evidence that they do hold tremendous enforcement power irrespective of denial of powerlessness by the EC. It is about the political will, as said by former TI president Tan Sri Navaratnam from the floor.
4. More damning testimony of postal votes in Sibu: DAP could have lost…
PKR election agent claims DAP’s majority could have been more
By Clara Chooi
May 17, 2010
KUALA LUMPUR, May 17 — A PKR election agent today claimed that the DAP would have won yesterday’s Sibu polls with a majority of at least 1,000 votes if not for alleged discrepancies in postal votes.
Pahang PKR secretariat director Zaidi Ahmad, who was appointed by the party as the team leader in charge of monitoring the postal votes during the polls, told The Malaysian Insider today that at least 700 more ballot papers for the postal voters should have been rejected.
“They only allowed the rejection of 208 but we were there and we knew of the irregularities,” he said when contacted today.
He claimed that the DAP clinched its narrow win because of the Pakatan Rakyat’s team of election observers for the postal votes who had worked hard to ensure that the discrepancies were minimised.
“When I saw the tally for the regular votes and how DAP was only leading by 2,500-odd votes, I knew that we had to do our best to ensure that we scrutinise the postal votes very carefully.
“If we had relaxed our vigilance, they would have sailed through and Barisan Nasional would have won the by-election,” he said.
In yesterday’s polls, the DAP was a hair’s breadth away from losing when its candidate Wong Ho Leng polled 18,845 votes against SUPP’s Robert Lau Hui Yew’s 18,447 and independent Narawi Haron’s 232.
The opposition party wrested BN’s Sibu fort away with a mere 398-vote majority.
Zaidi pointed out that this would not have happened if the 208 postal votes were not declared spoilt and the 170 ballot papers for what he claimed were “phantom postal voters” were returned and added to the tally.
“If you add up the two, you get 398 votes… the exact number of the majority that DAP won with,” he said.
Zaidi said the 208 postal votes were rejected after discrepancies were discovered on many of the Form 2, which contains information on the identities of the voters.
“These forms state the names, identification numbers and information about the voters and are supposed to be signed by the voters themselves as well as their witnesses.
“However, we noticed that there was something wrong with the signatures — the same witness would sign differently on different forms and on some forms, the voters themselves did not even sign them. This means that others had signed on their behalf,” he said.
Zaidi said that only after persistent complaints from the PR’s election agents, Election Commission officials agreed to consider 208 ballot papers from the postal votes as spoilt votes.
Of the 2,827 ballot papers issued for postal votes, BN won 2,323 votes, DAP won 70, the independent won 36 while 208 were considered spoilt.
As such, during yesterday’s vote-tallying process, the announcement of the results was delayed because of arguments over the discrepancies.
By convention, the tallying for postal votes is usually conducted earlier.
“In actual fact, there were at least between 700 and 800 postal votes that had discrepancies but the EC disallowed these from being considered as spoilt,” Zaidi claimed.
He also pointed out another discrepancy in the polling process when people posing as EC workers attempted to cast their votes on polling day yesterday.
“The EC workers have already registered themselves as postal voters and the postal voting was supposed to have taken place on May 13 and 14. It was suspicious that they appeared on Sunday to cast their votes,” he said.
He noted that this meant that the ballot papers had been taken out and sold to “phantom voters”.
“We stopped 170 of them because we how they were dressed and we knew that they were lying.
“Some of them fled when we asked for their identity card numbers and they never returned,” said Zaidi.
He said he even had incriminating photos of the purported “phantom voters”, adding that he would post them up online soon.
“This shows that if the by-election had truly been run properly, DAP could have won with a much bigger majority,” he said.
Indeed, if Zaidi’s claims prove true and at least 700 more postal votes were rejected as spoilt, DAP could have won yesterday’s polls with a majority of a little over 1,000.
“We hope the EC explains the discrepancies and the fact that they are not independent agents but they work for the BN,” Zaidi said.
DAP organising secretary Teresa Kok said that if it had not been for the election agents employed by the PR to monitor the by-election, the BN would have walked away as winners in Sibu.
“These people were truly the unsung heroes for us,” she said.
Some cooroboration on the postal vote scandal:
From anil’s blog:
Sibu: The postal ballot loop-holes
UPDATED: Pakatan polling agents were unable to witness the casting of ballots by over a thousand postal voters who were said to be located outside the Sibu police headquarters and two main army camps.
That’s the assertion made by an experienced Pas polling agent familiar with the process, which revealed glaring weaknesses and loop-holes in the Sibu by-election.
Back at Wisma Sanyan, the main coordinating centre for postal ballots, the agents for the Sibu by-election exercised unprecedented scrutiny over the counting and verification of the ballots.
As the agents spotted more and more discrepancies in the postal ballots, the pile of spoilt and rejected ballots grew higher and higher. (The agents had been thoroughly briefed on what to look out for.)
One official snapped, “At this rate, we will be here until midnight!”
To which, a DAP rep retorted, “Fine, we are willing to stay here all night, but we want to make sure everything is properly done.”
The Sibu by-election put the spotlight on postal votes as never before. An entire nation waited with bated breath for the outcome of the postal ballots. The DAP’s Wong Ho Leng was leading by 2,651 votes (excluding postal ballots) but that majority was about the same number as the postal ballot papers, which usually goes overwhelmingly to the BN.
Much confusion arose during the live coverage on this blog: were there 2,500-plus postal votes (as earlier reported) or 2,800-plus?
I was determined to try and cast more light on the process. For far too long, the conduct of postal balloting has been carried out in secrecy and most Malaysians know very little about what takes place. This continuing opacity has great implications for future elections, including the coming Sarawak state election.
In fact, what puzzles me is that if individual postal voters can cast their ballots at army and police polling centres in and around Sibu, why can’t they vote like everyone else – perhaps early on polling day or a day earlier if they are going to be on duty on polling day? Why do they need “postal ballots” if most of them are based in Sibu anyway?
Let’s look more closely at what transpired behind the scenes:
Postal votes – the numbers
Official number of army/police postal voters: 2,537
(according to Election Commission press statement on 16 April)
Second layer/ad hoc postal voters: 290
These are Election Commission officials from Sibu who were on duty. (In the same press statement, the Commission said they would have a total of 1,149 workers on duty for the by-election.) Who controls how a Sibu resident can become a EC worker, right up to polling day?
Ballot papers issued: 2,827
BN – 2,323
DAP – 70
Independent – 36
Spoilt – 208
Not returned (did not vote) – 190
Those who didn’t vote/return their ballots comprised:
Election Commission workers – 179 (62% of the 290 election workers on the postal ballots roll did not turn up to vote after Pakatan polling agents were alerted to watch out for them.)
Army – 8
Police – 3
Total – 190
11 ballot boxes in all for postal votes:
Police – 3
Army – 7
Election Commission workers – 1
Now, here’s a chronology of what happened. This chronology will be further updated and revised based on feedback I receive:
Ballot papers are issued at Wisma Sanyan:
Envelope A – contains ballot paper.
Envelope B – contains Form 2, which provides details of voters and the serial number of the ballot paper, to be signed by the witness, usually a senior officer.
Polling agents check the serial numbers, names and IC numbers against the electoral rolls.
Both these envelopes are placed in a larger brown envelope.
There are four postal ballot polling centres: Wisma Sanyan (election workers); police HQ in Sibu, and two army camps around Sibu (Kem Oya Batu 14 and Kem Rescom Batu 10).
Officers from these centres turn up at Wisma Sanyan to collect the ballots for the personnel at the respective centres.
Now this is where things get a bit hazy.
Party polling agents are present at the Sibu Police HQ and the two army camps on polling days (13-14 May). Army and police officers sign Borang 2 as witnesses. (Why do these officers need to be witnesses? Why do you need a witness form with the voter’s details and the ballot paper serial number on it?) And most of the postal voters cast their ballots there and then at the centre.
But there is an apparently serious lack of independent oversight over 1,040 postal ballots for which the voters are not based in the police HQ or at the army camps but are apparently stationed at locations outside Sibu, according to an experienced Pas polling agent. These ballots are cast at unknown locations with no polling agents present. “There is a lot of room for abuse and manipulation,” suggests the agent.
As for Election Commission workers, they are allowed to take their ballots home and return them by 16 May – another big loophole. How do you prevent ballot papers from being sold or given to others to vote? And what is the check and balance to ensure that the same workers cannot vote again in the normal way? The Assistant Returning Officer, their spouse or anyone else can sign as witness. Individual postal voters drop off their envelopes at Wisma Sanyan from 13-15 May.
All ballots papers are returned to Wisma Sanyan from the camps and police HQ by around 10.00am. Voting officially closes by 5.00pm, but most of the voting is completed by the afternoon anyway.
The forms are then separated from the ballot paper envelopes. Officials hold up Form 2 and Envelope A at the point of separation for polling agents to witness.
Polling agents quickly check the voters and witness (usually a superior officer) particulars on the form: name, address, IC number, signature, date. Eagle-eyed agents look out for about eight different particulars and memorise them especially the witness signature (as they are not allowed to refer to earlier forms to double check the consistency).
It is at this point that ballot papers may be rejected as spoilt.
The usual reasons for rejection in Sibu:
– no signature
– wrong date (a few were dated in March or early May!)
– IC number doesn’t contain the pre-fix ‘T’ (for Tentera).
– the same witness but signature differs from that in other Forms bearing the same witness name.
In all, 208 votes are accepted as spoilt.
Before the ballot papers are placed in the boxes, another round of checking takes place: the folded ballot paper serial numbers are matched against the serial numbers on Envelope A.
6.00pm – Counting begins at Wisma Sanyan
8.30pm – Counting ends
Ballot papers packed into boxes ready to move to polling centre.
At this point, the DAP’s Wong Ho Leng is leading by 2,651 votes ahead (by a 50:42 margin) of SUPP candidate Robert Lau, with only postal votes remaining.
But returning officers and EC officials are reportedly holed up in a room engaged in discussions and “tabulating figures”. DAP agents claim tabulating should only take about 30 minutes.
10.00pm – EC officials bring down the boxes – but where is Form 15, which the polling agents have to sign?
DAP polling agents are told not to touch the boxes. Police are called in to yellow-tape the area where the boxes lie.
The form is finally produced but not signed by polling agents. DAP agents are still not happy but let it pass as their candidate is going to win anyway.
10.30pm – Boxes arrive at Dewan Suarah, the main counting centre.
Wong Ho Leng is declared the winner by 398 votes (2,651 majority before postal votes – 2,323 BN postal votes + DAP postal votes 70). The winning majority was exactly as the total of the spoilt (208) and unreturned postal ballots (190).
Had the Pakatan polling agents been less vigilant the result could have been a stalemate!
If anything above is incorrect, do leave your comments and clarifications.
A GOOD RESPONSE HERE:
We must scrutinize these postal votes in the coming
elections. My experience as polling agent for PAS for the last two GE was that the percentage for spoil votes was very small for Sibu. The spoil votes in my constituency were about 30 percent. Our uniforms personnel wrote all sorts of things such as ‘tipu’, ‘temberang’ and make all kinds of caricatures on the voting slips.
”the same witness but signature differs from that in other Forms bearing the same witness name.” was indeed a normal occurrence.
A disputed vote was separated and was again vetted and contested for its merit. This often takes time. The percentage for BN as in my case was consistent at 60 percent in the last 2 GE.
I had no experience as polling agents when these postal votes were done.
Perhaps we should have
1. Uniforms personnel to cast their votes in polling stations which cater for them say 2 to 3 days earlier in morning and afternoon session. After each casting of votes for the day was completed all votes boxes to sealed and kept until the actual votes counting takes place. We should go for the transparent boxes not the bags which were used now.
2. Their strength at each camp must be scrutinized as per the election commission rolls. Any new members transferred from other areas must also be vetted. (Our ex armed forces and police within us should shed us more on this issue)
3. The election personnel elected mostly from governments servants should be verified and their particulars be vetted against their respective polling station and be stricken off from the election rolls and marked as postal votes. (Especially during GE)
4. The spoil votes could be very well translated to be our votes and they must be educated to do the right things.
We could improve our postal votes if we act on these issues and the discrepancies you had highlighted.
5. Najib investigated by MACC for Rm5mil offer at Rejang Park!
MACC Chief Abu Hassan said: political corruption is the mother of all corruption!
In a move to show its relevance the MACC announced that it is investigating if the PM Najib has committed bribery when he offered Rm5mil to voters at Rejang Park if the voters elect Robert Lau as Sibu’s MP in the Sibu by-election! The forum by Transparency International saw UMNO and MACC speaker `justifying’ vote buying practice in Malaysia based on 2 grounds: 1 is that the Election Offences Act only target `everone’ and not a Government. This is disputed by others who say that the Ministers who make allocations to buy votes are acting as individuals and not as government when they abuse thier position to buy votes with public allocations. Government should have no place in an election campaign.
2ndly they pointed to a legal precedent where in 1980′s the then Finance Minister Tengku Razaleigh was held to be not committing bribery when he made allocations to influence a Penang election. The judge set a precedent by claiming that the minister has a responsibility to make allocations all the time as part of his job. However many think that the judgemet may be challengable since such blatant vote buying and abuse of power cannot be tolerated anywhere else in the world-going by the standards of corruption internationally! The MACC chief Abu Hassan even described that political corruption is the mother of all corruption!
A report on the MACC chief’s statement is here:
“You help me, I help you”, SPRM siasat Najib
Mei 23, 10
Suruhanjaya Pencegahan Rasuah Malaysia (SPRM) hari ini mengesahkan bahawa siasatan sedang dijalankan ke atas Perdana Menteri, Datuk Seri Najib Razak berhubung “You help me, I help you” semasa kempen pilihan raya Sibu.
reforming political financing forum 230510 abu kassim mohamedPelbagai pihak, khusus parti-parti pembangkang mendakwa kenyataan Perdana Menteri itu melanggar Akta Kesalahan Pilihan Raya.
Ketua SPRM, Datuk Seri Abu Kassim Mohamed (kiri, berdiri) memberitahu wartawan semasa sidang media di Petaling Jaya bahawa pihaknya telah menerima aduan berkenaan dan sedang menyiasatnya.
Pengarah siasatan SPRM, Mustafar Ali juga mengesahkan perkara itu kepada wartawan sambil berkata, suruhanjaya itu akan memanggil beberapa orang saksi untuk dirakamkan kenyataan mereka.
Kedua-dua pegawai kanan SPRM itu menghadiri sebuah forum Transparency International berhubung pembaharuan politik kewangan di Malaysia.
Pada 17 Mei lalu, Pengerusi DAP Karpal Singh mendakwa Najib terbabit dalam ‘pembelian undi’ pada pilihan raya keci parlimen Sibu.
Beliau merujuk kepada satu majlis di Rejang Park, pada 15 Mei seperti mana yang dilaporkan oleh akhbar harian bahasa Inggeris Sunday Eastern Times.
Berikut petikan kata-kata Najib yang dipertikaikan itu yang dibuatnya dalam bahasa Inggeris.
“I want to make a deal with you. Can we have an understanding or not? The understanding is quite simple. I help you, you help me,” kata Najib.
Pada majlis ini, Najib menjanjikan kerajaan persekutuan akan memberi RM5 juta untuk projek tebatan banjir di Sibu jika BN menang pilihan raya berkenaan.
Menurut Karpal tindakan itu jelas mencabuli Akta Kesalahan Pilihan Raya dan secara berseloroh berkata sekiranya tidak berhati-hati, Perdana Menteri boleh dihumban ke penjara dan negara terpaksa mengadakan pilihan raya kecil di Pekan pula.
6. Media report of election result-a good reflectionn of bias reporting?
How West Malaysian mainstream press report Sibu’s election result?
This is a good report on how they report/mis report the Sibu election result:
Hulu Selangor: A victorious P Kamalanathan, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin are featured prominently.
Sibu: Professor Datuk Dr Ibrahim Ahmad Bajunid being awarded the 2010 Academic Leadership Award at Universiti Malaysia Pahang is featured prominently. The Sibu results were relegated to the second lead story.
Fairness rating: D+
7. Two DAP Assemblypersons suspended on suspicion to avenge BN’s lose in Sibu
Chris Reubens (Malaysian Mirror)
Friday, 21 May 2010 18:02
KUCHING – PKR said it will lodge reports with the police and the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission against the Prime Minister for enticing voters in Rejang Park to vote for the Barisan Nasional in the just-concluded Sibu parliamentary by-ele4ction.
Sarawak PKR chairman Baru Bian said PM Najib Abdul Razak had gone to the housing area to tempt voters there with his speech of “you help me, I help you; let’s make a deal.”
Baru told reporters after chairing the PKR state liaison committee meeting here on Friday that the party, an ally of the DAP in the Pakatan Rakyat alliance, was “disturbed” by the speech.
The prominent native customary rights (NCR) land lawyer said the meeting decided that the reports to the police and the MACC should be made against Najib.
A DAP stronghold
Rajang Park, which was built in the 1980s is one of the earliest low-cost development areas in Sibu and said to be a stronghold of the DAP.
Poor infrastructure and sewerage system were the issues that made it a “black area” for the Barisan.
Thus, a visit there by the prime minister on May 15, the by-election eve, was big news in the local media.
Najib told the local gathering there that although they supported the opposition; he wanted them to listen to his one story, with only one storyline – 1Malaysia.
During the course of his address he purportedly offered to give RM5mil for flood mitigation projects at Rejang Park, which subsequently came under fire from various opposition quarters.
The pledge aside, Barisan candidate Robert Lau Hui Yew, from the SUPP, failed to win in Sibu. The voters instead gave a slim win to the DAP’s Wong Ho Leng.
Happy that the Pakatan had won the by-election, Baru said it was also due to the close relationship between the DAPand its allies, PAS and the PKR.
“The close relationship will enable us to sweep through the next state election,” he said.
Dirty tactics in Dayak areas?
Regarding the lack of support for the Pakatan in Dayak areas, he said it would have been much easier to make inroads “without irregularities or dirty tactics.”
Baru, who helped in the campaign, said some of the longhouses were fearfull of accepting them, giving them no chance to explain the opposition policies.
“We were, however, successful in some areas – like Rassau and Bawang Assam,” he added.
Baru said after the March 2008 general election, Malaysia has started to veer towards a dual political system, adding that this was good for the people who had previously thought it could not be achieved in such a short time.
He, however, expressed concern over the postal votes and hoped the Election Commission would look into the irregularities, incuding the long hours of counting those votes.
“The announcement of 59% voter’s turnout (at the Sibu by-election) which was changed to 70% within two hours was also a hiccup the EC should seriously look into,” he added.
He also accused the Barisan of blatantly and openly using Government machinery, including vehicles and manpower, in its campaign. “This shouldn’t be allowed in the first place,” he said.
He called on the 400,000 eligible voters who have yet to register themselves to do so and excercise their citizens rights.
The right to voice out
On another matter, Baru denounced the recent suspension of two opposition state assemblymen – Chong Chieng Jien (DAP – Kota Sentosa) and Dominique Ng (PKR – Padungan).
He said: “The state assembly is supposed to be a place for the representatives to raise issues and to debate on it. Not shut them up,” he said.
The two reps were slapped on Tuesday with a 12 months’ suspension.
Regarding Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud, Baru said: “Have a Happy Birthday. Relax and retire from politics.” (Taib celebrated his 74th birthday on May 21) — Malaysian Mirror
Appendix 2: Selected documents/ correspondence
SURUHANJAYA PILIHAN RAYA MALAYSIA
KERUSI PARLIMEN P.212 SIBU, SARAWAK
1. Suruhanjaya Pilihan Raya (SPR) telah menerima pemakluman
rasmi daripada Speaker Dewan Rakyat pada 12 April 2010
berhubung dengan kekosongan kerusi bahagian pilihan raya P.212
Sibu, Sarawak berikutan dengan kematian Ahli Dewan Rakyat,
Y.B. Datuk Robert Lau Hoi Chew, pada 9 April 2010.
2. Berikutan dengan kekosongan kerusi Dewan Rakyat P.212
Sibu, Sarawak, mengikut Perkara 54(1) Perlembagaan
Persekutuan, pilihan raya kecil perlu diadakan bagi mengisi
kekosongan luar jangka kerusi tersebut dalam tempoh 60 hari dari
tarikh kekosongan yang diputuskan oleh SPR. Sehubungan dengan
itu, setelah meneliti notis pemakluman oleh Speaker Dewan Rakyat
serta Sijil Kematian yang dilampirkan bersama Notis tersebut, SPR
dengan ini mengesahkan bahawa kerusi bagi Dewan Rakyat P.212
Sibu, Sarawak adalah kosong dan tarikh kekosongan berkuat kuasa
pada 10 April 2010. Mengikut Perkara 54 (1) Perlembagaan
Persekutuan yang memperuntukkan seperti berikut:
“54. (1) Kecuali sebagaimana yang diperuntukkan di
bawah Fasal (3) apabila terdapat sesuatu kekosongan di
kalangan ahli Dewan Negara atau sesuatu kekosongan
luar jangka di kalangan ahli Dewan Rakyat, maka
kekosongan atau kekosongan luar jangka itu hendaklah
diisi dalam tempoh 60 hari dari tarikh dipastikan oleh
Yang di-Pertua Dewan Negara bahawa ada kekosongan
atau oleh Suruhanjaya Pilihan Raya bahawa ada
kekosongan luar jangka, mengikut mana-mana yang
berkenaan, dan suatu pilihan raya hendaklah diadakan
atau suatu pelantikan hendaklah dibuat dengan
3. Dengan pengesahan kekosongan kerusi P.212 Sibu,
Sarawak, Subseksyen 12(3) Akta Pilihan Raya 1958
memperuntukkan seperti yang berikut:
“12. (3) Berhubung dengan sesuatu kekosongan yang
hendaklah dipenuhi dalam sesuatu pilihan raya kecil,
suatu writ hendaklah dikeluarkan tidak dahulu daripada
empat hari dan tidak lewat daripada sepuluh hari dari
tarikh kekosongan itu disahkan berlaku oleh Suruhanjaya
4. Menurut Subseksyen 12(3) Akta Pilihan Raya 1958, SPR
hendaklah menjalankan pilihan raya kecil bagi mengisi kekosongan
kerusi tersebut dalam tempoh 60 hari dari tarikh disahkan berlakunya
kekosongan. Dengan ini, SPR yang telah bermesyuarat pada hari
ini, 16 April 2010 memutuskan untuk menjalankan pilihan raya
kecil itu dan menetapkan tarikh-tarikh yang berkaitan dengan pilihan
raya kecil kerusi P.212 Sibu, Sarawak seperti yang berikut:
Tarikh Keluar Writ : 16 April 2010 (Jumaat)
Tarikh Keluar Notis : 21 April 2010 (Rabu)
Tarikh Penamaan Calon : 8 Mei 2010 (Sabtu)
Tarikh Pengundian : 16 Mei 2010 (Ahad)
(Jika ada pertandingan)
5. Bagi maksud menjalankan pilihan raya kecil itu, selaras dengan
peruntukan perenggan 3(c) Akta Pilihan Raya 1958, SPR bersetuju
untuk melantik seorang (1) Pegawai Pengurus dan Empat (4)
orang Penolong Pegawai Pengurus pilihan raya seperti yang
Pegawai Pengurus : Encik Wong See Meng
Pegawai Daerah Sibu
(a). Encik Morshidi b. Fredrick
Majlis Perbandaran Sibu
(b). Encik Justani B. Hj. Joni
Majlis Daerah Luar Bandar Sibu
(c). Encik Awg Mohammed Nizam B.
Awg. Ali Bohan
Penolong Pegawai Tadbir
Pejabat Daerah Sibu
(d). Encik Mohamad Asri B. Abd.
Penolong Pegawai Tadbir
Pejabat Daerah Sibu
6. Bagi maksud menjalankan pilihan raya kecil ini, Peraturan 9,
Peraturan-Peraturan Pilihan Raya (Pendaftaran Pemilih) 2002,
memperuntukkan seperti yang berikut:
“9. Bagi maksud sesuatu pilihan raya umum atau pilihan raya
kecil, Suruhanjaya Pilihan Raya hendaklah menentukan daftar
pemilih induk dan daftar pemilih tambahan yang terakhir
diperakui, sebelum pembubaran Parlimen atau Dewan
Undangan Negeri itu atau sesuatu kekosongan berlaku, yang
hendaklah digunakan dalam pilihan raya umum atau pilihan
raya kecil itu”.
7. SPR telah menentukan bahawa daftar pemilih yang akan
digunakan dalam Pilihan Raya Kecil P.212 Sibu, Sarawak ialah
Daftar Pemilih Induk (DPI) 2009 yang telah dikemas kini
sehingga 9 April 2010. Daftar pemilih bagi Pilihan Raya Kecil P.212
Sibu, Sarawak mengandungi 54,695 pemilih berdaftar yang terdiri
daripada 52,158 pemilih biasa dan 2,537 pemilih pos.
8. Bagi maksud pilihan raya kecil ini, SPR telah memutuskan
untuk menggunakan Dewan Suarah Sibu, sebagai Pusat
Penamaan Calon dan Pusat Penjumlahan Rasmi Undi setelah
mengambil kira faktor-faktor kesesuaian tempat itu. Bagi urusan
pengundian pos pula, proses pengeluaran dan pengiraan Undi
Pos akan dibuat di Pejabat Daerah Sibu. Manakala Pusat
Mengundi pula, sebanyak 45 Pusat Mengundi yang melibatkan 39
buah sekolah dan dua (2) buah tadika, sebuah (1) pusat
latihan, sebuah (1) rumah panjang, sebuah (1) perpustakaan
awam dan sebuah (1) pusat rekreasi awam dengan 110
Tempat Mengundi (Saluran). Dalam Pilihan Raya Kecil P.212 Sibu,
Sarawak, seramai 1,149 orang petugas akan terlibat dalam
pengendalian pilihan raya kecil itu dan mereka ini akan diberikan
latihan yang mencukupi bagi memastikan proses pilihan raya kecil itu
berjalan dengan lancar.
9. Daftar Pemilih Pilihan Raya bagi bahagian pilihan raya
berkenaan akan mula dijual pada 26 April 2010. Para pengundi
dalam bahagian pilihan raya berkenaan juga boleh membuat
semakan Daftar Pemilih untuk mengetahui maklumat pusat
mengundi dan saluran mengundi mereka melalui Laman Web
SPR (www.spr.gov.my) dan melalui SMS dengan menaip SPR
<jarak> SEMAK <jarak> NO. KAD PENGENALAN dan hantar
kepada 15888 mulai 24 April 2010 Selain itu, para pengundi juga
boleh menelefon Ibu Pejabat SPR di Putrajaya (03-88856500) dan
Pejabat Pilihan Raya Negeri Sarawak (082- 254867).
10. Bagi maksud pilihan raya kecil ini, SPR akan menubuhkan
enam (6) Pasukan Penguat Kuasa Kempen Pilihan Raya (PPKPR)
di bawah seksyen 27B Akta Kesalahan Pilihan Raya 1954 yang
akan bertanggungjawab memantau dan mengawal aktiviti calon
sepanjang tempoh berkempen dari 8 Mei 2010 sehingga tamat hari
mengundi. PP-KPR akan diketuai oleh seorang pegawai penguat
kuasa serta dianggotai oleh seorang pegawai polis, seorang wakil
Pihak Berkuasa Tempatan (PBT) dan wakil-wakil calon bertanding.
11. Maklumat berkaitan dengan pilihan raya kecil ini boleh
diperoleh daripada Urus Setia SPR di Putrajaya dan Pejabat Pilihan
Raya Negeri Sarawak.
Sekian dan terima kasih.
(TAN SRI DATO’ SERI ABDUL AZIZ BIN MOHD YUSOF)
Suruhanjaya Pilihan Raya Malaysia
16 April 2010
Total collection for SEW’s Observation fund is RM5352.00-thanks to all donors & volunteers!
Since the launch of appeal for donation on April 28, 2010, SEW has received very encouraging support from many donors. As of May 16, 2010, SEW has received a total of RM5352. As a result of the generosity of these donors, SEW is able to provide for some more needs of the observers, which were initially left out due to the low budget set originally.
Any left-over funds will be utilised towards promoting local voters education and election watchers movement.
Thank you again Donors and the volunteers.
The financial account of the Sibu election observation fund is as below:
|2. Training and press conference rental||200||221.50|
|3 .T-shirt & Cap (30x)||880||880.00|
|4. Token for observer (RM30x22)||660||630.00|
|5. Car Petrol (for rural stations RM50x5)||250||180.00|
|6. Token for report writing & editing||600||1100.00|
|7. Polling day observers’ dinner||400||500.00|
|8. Stationery and Printing||400||178.90|
|9. Telecomunication support (broadband x2)||300||389.35|
|10. Printing of report (90 copies)||—||720.00|
|11. Contingencies & Miscellenous||310||15.00|
|Chin Huat & friends||100|
|BK (Timoti’s broadband)||200|
|observers’ contribution (t-shirt)||180|