Candidate lodges report on ‘tampered’ ballot boxes
Apr 22, 11
PKR candidate for Senadin Dr Micheal Teo and his polling agent yesterday lodged a police report over alleged tampering of ballot boxes following a closely-fought battle in the Sarawak polls last Saturday.
In the report lodged at Miri police station at 5pm, Teo said that a significant number of the 44 ballot boxes from Senadin, where he lost to BN by a razor thin majority of 58 votes, were found not to comply with regulations.
This was found by his polling agent, Peter Abong, who was called along with BN polling agents to inspect the boxes by returning officer Chai Ko Het on April 18, two days after polling day.
“We did not apply for it but were called to inspect. What (Peter) found was that the ballot papers were placed into one large container which was not sealed.
“About 10 ballot boxes did not have any signatures on them, eight had their seals broken, and two had seals in the wrong places,” Teo (right in picture) said when contacted.
According to the Section 25A (2) (a) of the Elections (Conduct of Elections) Regulations 1981 under the Election Act 1958, ballot papers have to be placed back into the ballot boxes after being counted.
Section 26E (d) of the same Act states that the boxes and their contents must be kept in safe custody for a period of six months from the polling date, after which they are destroyed unless instructed otherwise by the Election Commission.
“We took 47 photographs of the ballot boxes and papers and attached them to the police report,” said Teo.
PKR will file an election petition to challenge the result of the election in Senadin.
More irregularities elsewhere
The contest in Senadin ended in high drama in the wee hours of April 17, with a PKR representative arrested, but later released without charge.
He was among the PKR agents who had applied for a recount, but the returning officer ignored their request.
According to the Act, a recount is possible if the number of votes from all candidates together with the rejected votes vary from the number of ballot papers found in the ballot box by one percent or more.
A recount is also possible if the difference between the number of votes cast for the leading candidate and the next trailing candidate is two percent or less of the total number of votes.
In Senadin, the difference amounted to 0.4 percent of the 14,610 cast. Teo stood against SUPP’s Lee Kim Sin.
Meanwhile, Sarawak EC director Takun Sunggah said the decision taken by Chai Ko Het in rejecting a request by PKR for a recount was the right decision and was in accordance with the procedures and rules.
It is understood that PKR is also looking into several claims of irregularities including reports that its polling and counting agents were denied Form 14 (ballot paper tally form), or instances where two separate copies of Forms 14 with contradicting data were found.
Petitions need to be filed within 21 days of the election, after which the results will be gazetted.