Attempts at Electoral Fraud

Press Release from Dato’ Salehuddin Hashim, Secretary-General of Parti Keadilan Rakyat on 21 Aug 2008:
Electoral fraud has been a serious impediment to democracy in Malaysia for many years. The evidence of electoral fraud has been widely documented and reported in the media in the 2004, 2006 and 2008 Malaysian elections.
Examples include vote buying, phantom voters, multiple voting, and rampant abuse of postal voting. Postal vote fraud, we believe was the primary reason behind Pakatan Rakyat losing 1 or 2 Parliamentary seats in March.
Electoral fraud also include the intimidation of voters the manipulation of the mainstream media and preventing equal access and coverage to opposition political parties. Utusan Malaysia is a good example of how the government uses the media instruments at its disposal to spread confusion and to disparage and defame leaders in the opposition, including our Permatang Pauh candidate Anwar Ibrahim. Recent headlines have misquoted Pakatan Leaders’s statements about Anwar Ibrahim and wrongfully accused him of activities that would undermine his position with voters. Pakatan Rakyat initiated a boycott of Utusan Malaysia earlier this year for this reason.
The Elegant Advisory scandal of RM 218 million in unpaid printing expenses by the Barisan Nasional in 2004 illustrates another example of electoral fraud as well as the criminal negligence of the Election Commission in ensuring the free and fair conduct of elections.
RM 218 million is more than the total amount of money that is legally permissible to be spent on an election by more than double. A simple walk around Permatang Pauh would give any observer reason to suspect similar breach of the Election laws by the Barisan Nasional in this by-election. Expenditures on printing aside, we call upon Barisan to account for the millions more spent on paying people to post materials, paying to bring workers from around the country to work in Penang.
We are particularly concerned about the concerted effort to decrease voter turnout in this coming election. The scheduling of polling day on Tuesday, the first time in history that a polling date was set on a weekday.
We are also aware of money being paid to PP voters to dissuade them from going to the polls or to preoccupy them with other activities such as shopping so that they will not vote on August 26th. We also know that some individuals are having their IC’s photocopies under the ruse that this is necessary for UMNO workers to document their campaign work. We condemn this activity in the strongest terms. Photocopying of ICs is clearly an act of intimidation whereby voters would feel they are being monitored by the government. Furthermore, it is a monitoring mechanism that could be used to position phantom voters on election day.
We have therefore called for the proper use of indelible inks in this by-election to prevent some of the electoral fraud.
We know the Election Commission, working under the instructions of the Prime Minister’s office, will do little to address our concerns. We therefore call upon voters to be vigilant in protecting their democratic rights, monitoring and reporting abuses to the authorities.