As of 5.00pm yesterday the Election Commission office in Kuching was a hive of activities where the electoral rolls are being sold like a `pasar malam'(night market). But there are 4 seats where the electoral roll is still baking in the oven: Baleh (incumbent: Masing), Asa Jaya, Pelagus(incumbent: Larry Sng) and Kartibas. Why are these electoral rolls not done yet? Are not all the rolls finalised and gazetted already according to announcement by the EC Chair Tan Sri Abdul Aziz a few days ago? Can gazetted rolls still be changed? The EC staff claimed that they can still change the rolls if there is a fire that burn down a polling center! Well did anyone hear of any polling center being burnt lately-and so many of them that they affect all 4 constituencies? The EC is well advised to sort this out and provide a more credible answer ASAP so that there would not be more damaging speculations on these 4 really `hot’ seats!
Under the law only the EC can prepare the electoral rolls. Over the years there are so many complaints of the weaknesses of the EC manufactured rolls that the government did what it does best: make a law to gag complaint about the rolls once it is gazetted. So the gazetted rolls are supposedly `perfect’. Now it is the EC which holds back the rolls on account of defects in the rolls! Are they finally admitting their mistakes while legally banning the public to make complaints about them?
The EC which has been resistant to public scrutiny of the elections eg they don’t allow observers to scrutinise the elections from the polling stations and disallow international observers, yet their conduct often raise questions on their competence and impartiality. Let’s see how long they take to wiggle out from these 4 really hot seats, which overlap in some ways with the 9 supposedly hot seats announced by the EC’s no.2 Dato Wira Wan Ahmad.
Another issue of interests is that the electoral roll is selling for Rm10.00 more if you want it in CDs form. MEO-Net found to its horror that they have to cough out another Rm710.00 on top of the Rm4500.00 that it need to pay for the rolls for the 67 seats on sale yesterday. Wonder if the suddenly announced price hike is the growing business acumen of the EC or another way to make life difficult for observers to scrutinise the mistakes prone electoral rolls! The ad hoc nature of the price hike is reflected by the receipt where only the ordinary price is listed and the increased price is written in hand writing!
The EC staff took 1 hour to collect all 67 rolls for sales to MEO-Net, and another 45min to write a receipt where they add Rm10.00 to each of the price of the CD for each constituency. The CD only contain tine bit of information each (less than 20Mb)-wonder if the EC should just combine the rolls for all seats under 1 parliament constituency and make life easier for themselves. To make that possible they should lower the pricing of the rolls which are inhibitive to observers to help scrutinise the rolls for areas to improve. Or they think that this is a smart way to discourage such scrutinies?
Yet the candidates have to come all the way from all over Sarawak to buy the electoral rolls and the maps. A Sg Asap intending candidate was seen among the buyers of the crowd of buyers. Why can’t they make the rolls available in more sales point throughout Sarawak knowing that Sarawak is as big as West Malaysia. In contrast West Malaysia has 11 EC office compared to East Malaysia’s 2. The electoral rolls are sold in hard copy and in CD forms.