'Mystery voters' under EC's spotlight

Andrew Ong & Kuek Ser Kuang Keng
Nov 15, 07

The Selangor Election Commission (SEC) held a public inquiry today into objections raised by five Sekinchan residents over 49 ‘mystery voters’ who have appeared on the latest electoral roll.

The inquiry was held after the five lodged separate reports on the electoral roll, questioning the eligibility of the 49 ‘mystery voters’.
In total, five witnesses from both sides – comprising three complainants and two ‘mystery voters’ – gave statements to SEC director Jailani Abdul Majid (left) who acted as EC registrar during the inquiry.
Two complainants were unable to make it for the inquiry because of family obligations.
It is unknown how many ‘mystery voters’ were asked to attend the inquiry, but according to Jailani, there is no provisions under the law to compel anyone to attend.
The proceedings started at 11am and lasted four hours at the SEC headquarters in Shah Alam. Jailani is expected to inform the complainants of the inquiry results tomorrow.
The inquiry, according to Jailani, was held in accordance with Section 17 of the Elections (Registration of Electors) Regulations 2002.
‘17 people living in hair salon’
According to Sekinchan state assemblyperson Ng Swee Lim (right), the ‘mystery voters’ first came to his attention when he inspected the supplementary electoral roll for the third quarter of the year.
The supplementary electoral roll consist the full list of new voters being added into the main rolls.
Ng had unexpectedly won the state seat from MCA by a wafer-thin majority of 344 votes out 10,000 in the 2004 general election.
Last month, his team found alleged irregularities in two locations – Jalan Radin and Sekinchan Site C – which each had more than a dozen of voters registered to a single address.
“In Jalan Radin, 16 people changed their address to a shoplot which housed a hair salon. Another person in the address is a new voter,” said Ng, who accompanied the three Sekinchan residents to the inquiry.
In Sekinchan Site C, Ng pointed out that there were 12 new voters registered to a single story wooden house which is currently occupied by a family of four. Another seven voters changed their addresses to that same house.
Apart the two locations, there are another 13 ‘mystery voters’ found to be allegedly from nearby constituencies and are non-Sekinchan residents.
‘It’s my choice’
Ng explained that his team had made vigorous checks on the names – with residents, neighbours and property owners at the controversial address that appeared on the supplementary roll – and are convinced that the 49 ‘mystery voters’ were people who do not live in the area.
One of the ‘mystery voters’ who gave his statement to Jailani today was Fan Kee Fong (right), 56, who changed his address with the EC to the Jalan Radin hair salon.
When approached by reporters after his interview with Jailani, Fan admitted that he was residing in Tanjung Karang – a consituency outside of Sekinchan – but showed reporters a slip of paper bearing the National Registration Department letterhead to prove that he had legally changed to a new address.
“It’s my choice. I can choose to vote wherever I want,” said Fan, adding that the law even allowed him to become a voter in Johor even if he wanted to.
On why he wanted to become a Sekinchan voter, Fan replied that “this is a Chinese area”.
Political plot?
Ng feared that there were many more ‘mystery voters’ whom his team had yet to detect and that the credibility of the electoral roll had been compromised.
He claimed that the ‘voter transplant’ was a plot by rival political parties to unseat him during the upcoming general election.
Ng picked up the Sekinchan seat in 2004 against incumbent and MCA candidate Chia Kim Lem.
In 1999, Chia beat Ng by 2,044 votes.
The was a redrawing of state seat boundaries just before the 2004 general election resulting in the number of voters being slashed from 14,406 to 12,949.
Sekinchan is one of the two DAP seats in the Selangor legislative assembly. The other is Sungai Pinang, held by Teng Chang Khim.
The situation in Sekinchan adds to an increasing number of allegations that the electoral system in Malaysia is tainted.
Yesterday, Malaysiakini reported the case of a lawyer who mysteriously found herself to be a voter in another state.
Watch the 4-minute video here.