EC: No need for MAFREL, NGOs to monitor Sibu by-election

The Edge
SIBU: There is no need for MAFREL (Malaysia for Free Election) or similar non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to be independent observers for the coming Sibu by-election.
Election Commission Deputy Chairman Datuk Wira Wan Ahmad Wan Omar on Tuesday, May 4 said it had taken detailed steps to ensure the election, with its nomination day on May 8 and polling on May 16, would be carried out in the most fair and transparent manner.
“MAFREL was not needed in the recent Hulu Selangor by-election. We are not going to need them as observers for the Sibu by-election.
“We will have formed six enforcement teams. Representatives of all the candidates will be invited to be members,” he said.
He said their inclusion would allow them to be observers at the polling centres, the tally centre and to monitor the process of campaigning, and the teams would be just as good, he told a media conference after a briefing session with all those involved here.
He said although the EC had recognised MAFREL roles in the past nine by-election before the Hulu Selangor, they had failed to send any feedback or reports to the EC.
“The voters or candidates need not worry. We have done 12 general elections and more than 300 by-elections in the country so far and we have been regularly fine-tuning our system.
“The inclusion of representatives of all the candidates in our enforcement team is assurance enough of fairness and transparency,” he said.
Wan Ahmad meanwhile reminded all candidates and their representatives to have good knowledge of the election rule and regulations.
He said it was compulsory for them to obtain the police permit before any gathering for the police to monitor and ensure public security.
He said a budget of RM1.2 million had been allocated for the by-election.
On the announcement of the result, he expected it to be done before or by 9pm or the latest at 10pm on May 16. — Bernama