Sibu: Postal votes poser

Written by Dr Mohamed Rafick Khan
DAP could have lost Sibu if they had not obtained such a commanding lead from the get-go. The last minute influx of postal votes, as always nearly all cast in favour of Barisan – and this a ‘hallowed’ tradition that has kept the ruling party in perpetual power and Malaysia a one-party state – almost tipped the scale in the by-election.
The Sibu by-election: Is EC really neutral?
As always the postal votes became an issue. I was following the minute-by- minute development on Malaysiakini and From what transpired last night, Pakatan Rakyat could have lost the election due to postal votes and what I suspect is a massive vote tampering.
This could be appreciated from the inconsistent announcement by Election Commission at the end of voting time and his subsequent announcements. It gave rise to unnecessary suspicion among the people on the fairness of the EC.
At the peak, DAP was leading by approximately 4,000 votes and by the time the result was announced, they were lucky to have won by 398 votes.
I don’t understand on why EC need to do such a thing.
My research on the Internet, shows the following;
From the EC press release on voters turnout (Bernama)
Total no. of registered voters: 54,695 (including 2,537 postal voters)
Number of voters who cast ballots: 32,742
Voter turnout: 59.86 percent

From the EC official results announcement (Bernama)

Robert Lau Hui Yew (BN) – 18,447 votes
Narawi Haron (Independent) – 232 votes
Wong Ho Leng (DAP) – 18,845 votes
Votes cast: 37,919
The difference between announced turnout and actual count is 5,177 votes or ballot papers, or in other words about two times the total number of postal ballots.
From the above we can see that 5,177 additional ballot paper had come in into the final tally. A few hundred more ballot papers and PR would have lost Sibu as how they have lost Batang Ai. This is something that EC needs to explain.
Can it be that they made a mistake at the original announcement? It sounds so unlikely. It is time a special Parliamentary select committee looks at this matter seriously. They need to scrutinize each individual ballot paper and voters listing tally in detail.
The credibility of Malaysian voting system is at stake here.
Sometime between 8.00 pm to 9.00pm on Sunday night, unverified news spread over Twitter and Anil’s blog that the Deputy Prime Minister had left Sibu for the airport. It was also reported on Malaysiakini that the DPM cancelled his planned press conference.
Why did Muhyiddin Yassin leave Sibu when the EC had not yet finished counting? I would say it is very strange indeed. It is as if he already knew the outcome of the election. Under no circumstances would the Deputy Chairman of BN would have left Sibu unless he had been tipped off on the outcome. In fact by 9pm-plus, BN local warlords had left the counting centre. Something just does not add up.