Mafrel quits as polling monitor

The Sun
Kimberley Lau

PETALING JAYA (March 5, 2008): Malaysians for Free and Fair Elections (Mafrel) which was slated to monitor polling day proceedings has quit as polling day monitor.
Mafrel made the decision to quit today to protest the Election Commission’s sudden decision not to use indelible ink, just four days before polling day.
According to Mafrel which went on international election observation missions in Indonesia, the Philippines and Afghanistan, the use of the ink has proven effective in preventing impersonations and multiple votes.
Mafrel chairman Abdul Malek Hussin said the ink would have been able to solve the problem temporarily this general election.
He said the EC’s excuse that its use could infringe the constitutional rights of a voter as well as result in chaos at polling centres was unacceptable.
He said that the notion of using the indelible ink has been around for a while, and that the EC should have taken measures to right these issues.
“It is obvious that the cancellation of the use of the indelible ink exposes us to an inconducive electoral process,” he said.
“We object to this and will not endorse a decision that is obviously in contradiction with the recommendations of the Final Report on Election Observation 2007 by-elections,” said Abdul Malek.
Accredited by the EC, a total of 330 Mafrel observers were to have been deployed at polling stations nationwide to monitor the voting process this Saturday (March 8).
The use of indelible ink was proposed by Mafrel last August as a condition for Mafrel’s monitoring of the by-elections in Machap and Ijok. This was later adopted by the EC to prevent phantom voting.
Asked whether by withdrawing from its monitoring duty, Mafrel would further deprive electorates of a transparent elections, Mafrel deputy chairman Syed Ibrahim Syed Noh said that it was a stand they had to make in protest of the EC’s decision.
It has not however relinquished its right to monitor the elections outside the polling stations.
“We will be going on with our usual monitoring, just not within the polling stations as accredited by the EC,” said Syed Ibrahim.
Based on a study conducted on the electoral roll, Abdul Malek said there are some voters whose names are registered in several constituencies.
One of these is a postal voter who is registered in Ketereh with his full name and birth year of 1962, but is registered as an ordinary voter in 46 different localities.
Another voter, registered in Dungun, is also a registered voter in 40 different localities.
Asked if it could be a mere coincidence as many names could be similar or the same, Abdul Malek said: “Yes, but this also shows us that there is cause for suspicion. We need to implement methods to find out and verify if this is just one man, or mere coincidence.”