Nov 20, 07
Polls reform group Bersih today rejected the Election Commission’s (EC) explanation that the 142 missing ballots in one area during the Ijok by-election in April was due to ‘human errors’.
“If 142 missing ballots can be explained away, how about the missing ballots in Lumut?” asked Bersih, which stands for the Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections, in a media statement today.
The Lumut parliamentary seat, where a navy base is located, has recorded as high as 2,763 unreturned ballot papers in the 1990 general election, 3,487 (in 1995), 8,176 (in 1999) and 5,486 in the last elections in 2004.
“Can the people trust the electoral process when thousands of ballots are mismanaged in every election? Is (EC chief) Abdul Rashid Abdul Rahman not concerned about his commission’s integrity and credibility,” asked the group.
The EC’s attribution of the 142 missing ballots to ‘human errors’ was conveyed to election watchdog Malaysians for Free and Fair Elections (Mafrel) in a meeting yesterday.
Mafrel, which monitored the conduct of the Ijok by-election, had urged in August for a special inquiry to be conducted to probe the missing ballots. It has since accepted the EC’s explanation.
Barisan Nasional’s K Parthiban defeated PKR candidate Khalid Ibrahim by a 1,850 vote majority amid allegations of election irregularities and phantom voters in the by-election.
Apart from the missing ballots, Bersih said there were many outstanding electoral issues in the by-election which have yet to be explained by the EC.
The bigger scandals, according to Bersih, include 50 dead voters, votes ‘stolen’ by impostors and 23 voters without national identity cards which were allowed to vote in Ijok.
“Bersih stresses that such irregularities are not isolated cases, but rather, they reflect systematic patterns,” added the coalition, which is made up of five political parties and 67 NGOs.
For example, Bersih said, the EC should explain why was there a sudden increase of 8,463 voters in the Ipoh Timur parliamentary seat held by parliamentary Opposition Leader Lim Kit Siang.
Out of the number, 3,208 of them are postal voters. The seat was won by Lim in the last general election with 9,774-vote majority.
In view of that, Bersih reiterated that the domestic postal voting – for police and army personnel working locally – must be abolished.
“Monitoring of the voting process is insufficient because postal voters are also assigned en masse to any marginal constituency to counter opposition support as and when deemed necessary by BN,” claimed Bersih.
The EC has recently said the postal voting system will not be repealed but it would allow polling agents representing the candidates to observe the casting of postal votes.
Missing Ijok ballots: EC's explanation weak