Bersih: Probe Ipoh Timur's voters transfer

Oct 12, 07 2:10pm

An elections watchdog has urged the Election Commission (EC) to investigate the sudden increase of voters in the Ipoh Timur parliamentary constituency, which is an opposition stronghold.

In a statement yesterday, the Coalition for Free and Fair Elections expressed concerns over the ‘growth’ of 8,463 new voters in three months reported by Malaysiakini.
On Tuesday, DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng said a check on the electoral roll for the second quarter – from April 1 to June 30 – had revealed the additions.
The figures were broken down into the numbers below:

  1. The wholesale transfer all 2,231 voters in the Pengkalan Pegoh polling station in the Sungai Rapat state constituency (in Gopeng parliamentary constituency) to the neighbouring Pasir Pinji state constituency (in 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 about 400 per quarter.

Important moral element
However, EC 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.
His explanation did not go down well with DAP because this was done without the knowledge of the voters or the elected representatives for the areas concerned.
Bersih also said that there is ‘something very wrong with the figure’ because it is a hefty 12 percent increase for a seat that has 73,333 voters in the 2004 general election.
In the 2004 general election, Opposition Leader Lim Kit Siang (DAP) defeated MCA’s Thong Fah Chong by a majority of 9,774 votes.
The coalition made up of five opposition political parties and 26 civil society NGOs also warned that a tainted electoral roll will render an election illegal and illegitimate.
“The integrity of the electoral roll is one of the most important moral elements in an election.
“(The EC needs) to rectify the problem or risk losing whatever is left of its credibility as an ‘effective and transparent’ institution,” said Bersih.
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.