DAP rocked by mass transfer of voters

Oct 9, 2007

The Ipoh Timur parliamentary constituency has ‘grown’ by 8,463 new voters in three months, and the DAP – which holds the seat – is far from thrilled.

Party secretary-general Lim Guan Eng said a check of the electoral roll for the second quarter – from April 1 to June 30 – revealed the additions.
In a statement today, he questioned:
1. The wholesale transfer all 2,231 voters in the Pengkalan Pegoh polling station in the Sungai Rapat state constituency (Gopeng parliamentary constituency) to the neigbouring Pasir Pinji state constituency (Ipoh Timur parliamentary constituency);
2. A sudden increase in postal voters by 3,208 even though there are no new army camps or new police stations; and
3. The extraordinary increase in new voters or those transferred to Ipoh Timur – the figure stands at 3,024 new voters when it should typically be would be about 400 per quarter.
He said this could have repercussions for DAP supremo Lim Kit Siang, who considers this a ‘safe’ parliamentary seat for the opposition party after picking up the seat with a majority of 9,774 votes.
“This unusual and extraordinary quantum increase in voters may not only end there as the third-quarter figures from July 1 to Sept 30 are still not out,” he said.
“If the increase is the same as in the second quarter, then Kit Siang or any other DAP candidate standing in Ipoh Timur face the possibility of losing […] by foul means of ‘phantom’ voters planted by certain irresponsible quarters.”
In the 2004 general election, Kit Siang defeated MCA’s Thong Fah Chong by a majority of 9,774 votes.
“Even (DAP assemblyman) Thomas Su’s majority of 2,841 votes in his Pasir Pinji state seat is also in jeopardy.”
EC chief explains
According to the statement, Election Commission chairperson Abdul Rashid Abdul Rahman had explained that the transfer of voters from Sungai Rapat to Pasir Pinji was to rectify what had not been done in the last general election; and that the commission is legally empowered to do so.
However, the DAP is not happy because this was done without the knowledge of the voters or the elected representatives for the areas concerned.
“At the meeting yesterday, Rashid conceded that the EC Perak director was wrong to conduct the wholesale transfer of voters in a secretive and surreptitious manner without even informing the sitting member of parliament and state assemblyperson,” Lim said.
“To insist that this is legal goes against constitutional provisions that provide that every delimitation exercise necessitating a change of polling stations must be approved by amendment of laws and by Parliament and the state assembly.”
Lim said that when the polling stations were brought for approval in Parliament and the State Assembly before the last general election, the government and EC had asserted that their lists were correct and had it gazetted accordingly.
“For the EC to claim that they had made a mistake not only shows that they were unprofessional, inefficient or not clean in carrying out their duties but trying to cover up their mistakes by secretly and quietly carrying out the voter wholesale transfer exercise.”
Lim noted that the party would wait Rashid’s visit to the constituency to personally investigate the situation after the Hari Raya Puasa celebrations before taking further action.
“Should there not be a satisfactory explanation, the DAP will continue to press the matter as we will not permit the Ipoh Timur voters to be disenfranchised,” he added.
This is not the first time that the opposition has complaint about such wholesale transfer of voters.
In the last general elections, PAS leaders abandoned a number of their seats in Kedah after it was cleared that they were unwinnable after massive relocation of voters by the EC.