Yesterday, some of my Twitter friends pointed me to an article written by a person named Tulang Besi in the Malaysia Waves website. Here is my response to it.
Dear Mr Tulang Besi,
Thank you for your rebuttals to my original article. Your full version of rebuttal can be found here. And my original article can be found here.
If you don't mind allow me to respond to your main points so that our readers can be better informed of the issue in hand ie allegations that the Election Comission (EC) manipulates election and that is not competent to do its job.
1. The problem is these dead people seem to rise up from the grave and voted. And despite party representatives reporting these people as being dead, the EC still refuse to remove them from the list.
I can confidently and categorically say that the EC will remove the name of the dead from the electoral roll if an official certificate of death is presented to them. No question about it. You can bring them to court and I GUARANTEE YOU WILL WIN YOUR CASE.
But if the reporting by your party representative was done verbally or by presenting only Certificate of Burial from the police or by bringing a relative of the dead to vouch for the death, I am sorry, EC won't entertain you.
The EC needs official proof. Provide them with the official death certificate issued by the Registration Department. Even Certificate of Burial from the police is not enough since the EC regulation clearly states that ONLY death certificate issued by Registration Department is acceptable to EC. If you can't provide that, then yes, I am afraid you are right. The "dead" will rise from the grave and vote. And you know what? It's legal.
2. Why has EC refused to take action when the evidence is so glaring. For instance, the house below has 60 registered voter in it. What’s stopping EC from cleaning this part of the roll? (more information on the 60 voters in one address example can be read here: http://www.malaysiawaves.com/2011/07/bersih-20-60-pengundi-dalam-1-rumah.html)
Mr Tulang Besi,
Have you been to a kampung setting? Do you know how many kampung folks use single address to deal with the government? Do you know that most squatters (who live on illegal structures) use legal (meaning not a squatter) house belonging to other people as their official address? And do you know that in a kampung setting, when a son gets married and builds his house within the big compounds of his father's house, chances are he, his wife and children will still use his father's house as official address? Can SPR remove their names form the electoral roll and deny them their rights to vote just because they use the same address? Absolutely not! It's not even constitutionally allowed!
Here is a true personal story for you. My late father was a YB in the 70s. He was born and lived in a poor village call Kampung Serusup. Being a YB, he was the first person in my kampung to have a mail box number at the Post Office. Those days (and this still apply to certain kampungs even today), most kampung houses in Sabah were not numbered and because of that postmen couldn't deliver letters to their houses.
The villagers had to go to the Post Office personally to collect their letters from the mail boxes assigned to them. One day instead of his usual self, my late father asked me to collect the mails. I was quite shocked to find that our family's mailbox was full of letters for people I did not know at all. I ran back to my father and told him of my shocking discovery. He smiled at me and said, "It's okay, these are the poor people without proper addresses in our kampung whom I allowed to use our mail box to correpondance with the government".
Can we be a bit conspiratorial, Mr Tulang Besi?
Is Kampung Bagan Serai in Permatang Pauh parliamentary seat? Yes.
Did the 60 people register during Dato Seri Anwar Ibrahim's tenure as Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minster? Possible.
Is it plausible Anwar was trying to fatten his vote bank then to ensure he won in Permatang Pauh considering he had a lot of enemies within and outside UMNO who tried to do him in? Plausible.
Now consider the issue which made YB Azmin Ali screaming from the top of his lung a couple of weeks ago. He was incessantly attacking the EC for allowing 11 people to register as voters using his mother's house. Without missing a beat, he spun the theory of UMNO-BN-Najib-SPR-Police evil axis to the hilt!
Upon checking, the EC found out that out of the 11 names, 5 were Azmin's own family members namely, Azmin himself, his wife, his mother, his sister Ummi Hafilda and his brother Mohd Azwan Ali. The other 6 were made of Chinese (5 people) and a Malay. But that's not the interesting part. EC also revealed that the 6 names were registered between 1990-1993 when Anwar and Azmin were the darlings of everyone, occupying the minister office including that of the Deputy Prime Minister's.
One wonders why a party accused of being anti-chinese and a racist, planted chinese votes in a Malay area like Azmin's mother's Kg Kelang Gate Baharu to undermine Pakatan Rakyat? Logically "an anti-chinese and racist UMNO" will not get chinese support. It should have planted Malay voters instead! Now you know why Azmin has been deafeningly silent about the issue since the EC made this revelation!
Actually Mr Tulang Besi, the more pertinent issue is, did the 60 persons voted twice? If they did, please let the whole world know.
3. ARD argues for the current practice of postal voting. Maybe ARD would care to comment on the article below related to Postal Voting
Mr Tulang Besi,
Although I sometimes find Harakah is written for the sole purpose of getting maximum political mileage, like the side story on arsenic poisining in the article above, I nevertheless thank you for highlighting the main headline.
I notice the date of the publication was 20th September 1999. Precisely because of this kind of allegations back then that the EC had decided to make immediate changes to the postal vote procedures involving the military and the police. Now, postal vote voting procedure is similar to normal vote system. Military and police personnel vote in private booths, while the entire voting procedures are watched by representatives of the candidates. Now, no one can claim he votes for someone else anymore.
4. Turkey had just concluded their election recently. Yet, all their army personnel votes in voting centres open to supervision by parties contesting. Unlike Malaysia, Turkey actually has problems with Kurdish armed insurgency. Yet, they can get their servicemen and women to vote in polling centres without having them to abandon their posts.
Mr Tulang Besi,
I hope you dont mind if I say it one more time. This time in bold capital letters complete with quotation and three exclamation marks in an exclusive paragraph of its own, to emphasize it just incase you forget again.
"ALL POSTAL VOTING ARE MONITORED PERSONALLY BY PARTY REPRESENTATIVES WHO ARE PHYSICALLY PRESENT AT THE POLLING CENTRES!!!".
I can understand if you can't and don't want to trust the EC since you say it's evil, but not trusting your own party representatives? Adoi!
Since I don't have the time to verify, I presume you meant Turkey servicemen and women voted in polling centres set up outside their military compunds. Well, we are better than them actually. Our Malaysian servicemen and women voted, under the watchful hawkish eyes of each party representatives, in polling centres set up within their compounds! So, they can vote independently, in private booths, while still be able to man their posts! Isnt't that wonderful? Perhaps that's why, compared to Turkey, insurgents don't want to mess with Malaysian military! We are ever ready!
5. Indelible ink: My question to ARD is that why has this problem NEVER BEING FACED by countries already practicing usage of indelible ink. Has ARD shut his eyes to the fact that indelible ink is being practiced in many countries all over the world including our neighbour, Indonesia. Indonesia has more than 200 million electorates, yet, they don’t face the hypothetical problem that ARD has highlighted above. As such, the hypothetical problem being cited by ARD is no more than a lame excuse made up by the EC.
Mr Tulang Besi,
Did you notice that the countries you quoted using indelible ink are those which have huge population and a big proportion of them do not have official indentification? India, Indonesia, Afghanistan etc. Their election identification and verification system is so outdated that they need indelible ink to identify, verify and mark voters who have voted. Go read blogger OutSyed The Box's interesting take on this issue. And who said they dont have problems with their indelible ink system? Google the stories and you will find many disputes, frauds and illegal tempering. In short, the indelible ink system is not fool-proof either.
Mr Tulang Besi, in your attempt to vilify the EC and the government, you conveniently forgot that in Malaysia we have a law named Elections Act 1958. I dont know about Afghanistan, India or Indonesia, but here in Malaysia, the Election Act clearly DOES NOT PROVIDE POWER to the EC to compel all voters to have their fingers inked. In other words, if someone has voted but refuses to have his finger inked, there is nothing that the EC can do about it. That's why I said in my original article, BERSIH made a mistake by bringing this issue to the streets instead of the Parliament to propose amending the Election Act.
So, Mr Tulang Besi, I hope I have answered your rebuttals in a clearer and unemotional way. Have a good day. Thank you.