Call for transparency in postal voting process

2009/09/17 (NST)
KUALA LUMPUR: As the opposition will harp on postal votes in the Bagan Pinang state by-election, the Election Commission (EC) must strive for transparency in the voting process, said a political analyst.

Prof Dr Mohamad Agus Yusoff of Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia said the EC must convince voters that the process would be fair and impartial as postal votes accounted for 33.7 per cent of 13,644 votes in the constituency.
He said the opposition would create a perception among voters that the postal votes would be manipulated by Barisan Nasional (BN).
“The EC must take the allegation seriously as the people will make the judgement based on their perception,” he told Bernama.
PAS Youth today urged the government to allow the party to campaign in the army camps in the constituency, alleging that the BN had the unfair advantage by campaigning through the Defence Ministry.
“Whenever a constituency has a sizeable number of postal votes, the opposition will claim that the ‘government’ will win the seats because of postal votes from the police and the armed forces or phantom votes.
“On the other hand, if the opposition wrested the seats, postal and phantom votes will no longer be an issue,” he said.
He said other issues like the Kampung Buah Pala and cow’s head protests, and the death of political aide Teoh Beng Hock would also influence voters to a certain extend.
Prof Dr Ahmad Atory Hussein of Universiti Sains Malaysia said Bagan Pinang voters would be influenced by the quality of the candidates.
“They will gauge the quality of the BN and PAS candidates before making up their mind,” he said.
The EC fixed Saturday Oct 3 as nomination day for the by-election and Sunday Oct 11 for polling.
The by-election is forced by the death of assemblyman Azman Mohd Noor of the BN (Umno) on Sept 4.
Bagan Pinang has 13,664 registered voters, including 4,604 postal voters, comprising 8,577 Malays (62.77%), 2,834 Indians (20.74%), 1,498 (10.96%) Chinese and 755 others (5.54%). The number of postal votes is 4,604. – BERNAMA