BERSIH: The law provides that votes are secret after 2006

The new Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (BERSIH 2.0) wishes to state after 2006 the law clearly provides that votes are secret and the identity of individual voters’ identity cannot be determined.
BERSIH 2.0 says that the common fear stemmed from the old practice where the serial number of the voter was to be written on the counterfoil of the ballot paper.
The by-law, Elections (Conduct of Elections) Regulations 1981 had been amended in May 2006. The serial number of the voter is not to be recorded in any manner so as to link it to the ballot paper.
Former Election Commission chairman Tan Sri Abdul Rashid Abdul Rahman had previously said, with the amendment, “we have eliminated the voters’ concerns, misunderstanding and fears that their votes are not confidential.” (New Straits Times, May 11, 2010)
In any case, the EC would not keep ballot papers for more than six months, Rashid had said.
BERSIH 2.0 urges voters to report any attempt by any election officials to record their serial number on the counterfoil of the ballot paper.
BERSIH 2.0 says, Section 13 of the Election Act 1958 stipulates that the “vote shall be secret”.
Under Section 4 of the Election Offences Act 1954, any election officer who is “without reasonable cause guilty of any act or omission in breach of his official duty” may face maximum two-year imprisonment and a fine of RM 5000.
Under Section 5 of the same act, anyone who violates the maintenance of secrecy may face maximum one-year imprisonment and a fine of RM 3000.
BERSIH 2.0 reminds all parties not to apply “undue influence” which includes threat and intimidation on voters, which is an offence which may be punished with maximum two-year imprisonment and a fine of RM 5000, under Sections 9 and 11 of the same act. Under Section 3, the same maximum penalty also awaits anyone convicted for obstructing voters from voting.
BERSIH 2.0 calls upon all voters to take down the details of any person who threatens them or prevents them from voting.
BERSIH 2.0 urges the woman who was reportedly warned by a BN party worker that “voting is not secret, and the authorities know everyone’s voting inclination” to come forward for her claim to be investigated.
The incident was reported by the Chinese-language Merdeka Review today.
In the same report, SUPP denied threatening voters and said that they have always told voters that voting is secret.
Dato’ Ambiga Sreenevasan
Spokesperson, BERSIH 2.0