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Archive for October, 2008

Just when you think you need not check these quarterly electors’ roll-you may be surprised something funny could happen to your voters’ registration:

October 28, 2008 10:33 AM

2008 Third Quarter Electoral Roll Goes On Display From Tuesday

PUTRAJAYA, Oct 28 (Bernama) — The supplementary electoral roll for the third quarter of 2008 will go on display from Tuesday, Oct 28, until Nov 3 at 985 premises throughout the country.

Election Commisssion (EC) public relations officer Sabri Said said the premises the roll will be displayed are state EC offices, computerised post offices, government complexes, district and land offices, district and municipal councils, public halls, Rukun Tetangga bases and Penghulu’s offices.

“From July to September, the EC received 24,531 new applications to register as voters and 6,200 applications for change of addresses,” he said in a statement here today.

Apart from these, he said names of voters taken off the electoral roll because of death, change in citizenship status or other reasons were also on display in the roll exhibited.

Anyone with any queries can contact the EC’s headquarters at 03-88856500 or via facsimilie at 03-88889117 or visit the EC’s website at http://www.spr.gov.my. katanya.

— BERNAMA

This is from Hansard c/o Faisal Mustafa/Bersih: Non-registered citizens found her name registered in EC’s Electoral Roll!

Tuan Gwo-Burne Loh [ Kelana Jaya ]minta PERDANA MENTERI menyatakan hasil daripada siasatan polis berkaitan dengan laporan yang dibuat oleh Sharmila Turaisingam pada 12 Januari 2008 bahawa beliau tidak pernah berdaftar sebagai pengundi tetapi namanya terdapat di dalam senarai pemilih di Kubang Kerian, Kelantan.

JAWAPAN:

Saya mengucapkan berbanyak terima kasih kepada Ahli Yang Berhormat dari Kelana Jaya yang telah mengemukakan soalan.

Untuk makluman Ahli Yang Berhormat, pihak kementerian telah membuat semakan dengan Suruhanjaya Pilihan Raya (SPR) dan mendapati bahawa SPR telah menerima sati permohonan pemilih di atas nama Sharmila Turaisingam pada 10 Mac 1998. Memandangkan penama telah menggunakan alamat Kg Wakaf Zain di dalam permohonan tersebbut, SPR telah menempatkan nama beliau di Parlimen P.024 Kubang kerian dan N.17 Salur, Kelantan.

Pada 12 Januari 2008 pula, SPR menerima permohonan daripada Sharmila uraisingam untuk menukar alamat melalui Pejabat Pos. Berdasarkan alamat yang terdapat di dalam kad pengenalan beliau, nama Sharmila Turaisingam telah ditempatkan di Parlimen P.104 Kelana jaya dan N.31 Subang Jaya, Selangor. Penempatan nama tersebut di dalam daftar pemilih SPR sehingga kini.

Tuan yang Dipertua,

Mengenai laporan yang dibuat oleh pengadu (Sungai Way Report:35/08), perkara ini masih dalam siasatan pihak Polis Diraja Malaysia (PDRM).

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The discrepancies between the rules for UMNO party elections and General Elections has grown more and more glaring by the day: UMNO has found unregulated and unlimited campaign expenses to be a nuisance -giving rise to pervasive perception of `money politics’ or an euphemism for votes buying, associated to UMNO party elections. So a smart alex in the UMNO election suggest that UMNO copy the measures to make campaign expenses transparent in US!  Why not even extend that suggestion to the General Elections?

October 28, 2008 21:46 PM

Have Clear Rules On How Much Candidates Can Spend, On What – Syed Hamid

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By: Ramjit

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BAGAN SERAI, Oct 28 (Bernama) — The time has come for Umno to introduce clear rules on how much a candidate in the party elections could spend, said Home Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar.

He said the rules should, among others, also state what a candidate could spend on and the contributors to the fund for the candidate to spend.

“You cannot say that a candidate cannot spend in facing the party elections. You can’t live without money. Now, everything costs money but there must be rules that state clearly what tantamounts to corruption and what does not,” he said after attending a briefing on the floods in and around Alor Pongsu, at the penghulu’s office, near here, Tuesday.

Also present at the briefing were the Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Musa Hassan, director of Internal Security and Public Order Datuk Husin Ismail and Perak police chief Datuk Zulkefli Abdullah.

Syed Hamid, who is Kota Tinggi Umno division chief, said the method of choosing the United States president could be used as a guideline.

He said the US presidential campaign allowed the candidates to collect funds and this was public knowledge, while all the expenses were declared so that they would not come under dispute by any quarters.

“In politics here, we sometimes receive contibutions from companies, inviduals and others, and there is a thin line between what is acceptable and what is corruption.

“If we have clear rules on such matters, it will be easier… the people will know where the money comes from and for what and those involved will know what they can and cannot do,” he said.

Syed Hamid, whose nominations have exceeded the quota required to contest a party vice-president post, said the systems in Umno which were no longer in tune with the current times should be abolished, and cited the nomination quota as one.

He said a new formula should also be introduced to replace the voting through the party delegates at the divisional level, so as to enable more grassroot members to be involved in the decision making at the national level.

“We need to look at new approaches to enable us to move towards what is called participative democracy, for greater overall involvement of the grassroots in party affairs and also to prevent money politics,” he proposed.

— BERNAMA

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The UMNO party elections have so far seen numerous complaints reflecting a less than good respect for fair election rules. So when an UMNO leader holding a Minister position speculate that the extra ballots found in a party election as `technical problems’ then we can expect that there is little concern about fraudulent practices. Extra ballot is a factual prove that there are some hanky panky going on -it is not like hear-say allegations without prove. We do need to evolve a culture of healthy election practices where issues like election frauds are given due seriousness than what has been shown up to now. Partisanship should not blur our vision towards such serious aberration from free and fair election norms if we truly want the members/voters’ voice to be reflected in the voting results.

2008/10/13

Umno divisional meetings: Extra ballot papers: Panel to decide

SEMPORNA: The allegation that there were more ballot papers compared with the number of delegates in the election for the Semporna Umno Youth head yesterday would be referred to the Sabah Umno liaison committee for a decision.

Semporna Umno division head Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal said a technical problem cropped up at the delegates’ conference that began at 2pm on Saturday and ended about 7.30am yesterday.

As such, he said he was leaving it to the state Umno to decide whether the meeting should be held again or otherwise.

Speaking after opening the Semporna Umno division delegates meeting yesterday, Shafie said no final decision had been made on the post of the division’s Youth head.

In the election for the Semporna Youth head on Saturday, incumbent Dixon Abd Habi succeeded in defending his post but there were protests from the delegates, who claimed there were more ballot papers compared with the number of delegates present. — Bernama

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The much anticipated Kulim by-election will not be happening because the BN petitioner withdraw his case. Is it because he got cold feeted on his case or there are politically expedient agenda here? From a democratic perspective the by-election should be held to gauge who the voters there want to represent them. If a candidate failed to comply with a clear election rule he/she should be stopped. Since the Returning Officer failed to do his jo at the nomination the matter should be put right at the election petition stage. Since whether the candidate had filed his previous election campaign expenses is a factual matter there is little to argue about. But since the case was withdrawn we cannot get a verification from the Court if the violation has occured. But does it mean that a violation of election rule depends simply on a challenge from interested parties (voters/candidates) and not depend on objective standards?

When we look at the criteria here -ie whether a candidate has filed previous election expenses, it is a criteria which is capable of objective verification. So why is it not carried out -even at the nomination stage? With the case withdrawn does it mean that a possible error of judgment by the RO is overlooked-which means that the voters could have been made to bear with a unqualified candidate for the next 5 years? Something in the Election Commission procedures is wrong here! For objective criteria the RO or EC should not be given any discretion to make judgement-or else many unfairness can occur-and had occured! There had been cases of candidates who were barred from contesting due to their failure to file previous election expenses-a requirement under election law, just as there are others who were allowed to proceed to contest even though they could not produce any prove of their election expenses being filed before. One notable example would be the current PM himself in 2004 general election!

The EC allowed his candidature-but again he wasn’t challenged at the petition stage due to a political swap with the opponent-who also drop all other objections against Badawi’s party. Who is/are the loser/s? It is the voters-who need to suffer the unqualified candidates for the next 5 years! The message from the episode seems to be that only ordinary candidates need to follow the election rules while there are some elites who can get away without bothering with the rules they set for others! This is unfair and unjust!

To address this issue the EC should allow the candidates to be scrutinised longer-eg 1 week as in Thailand; and the candidates’s suitablity based on objective criteria should be verified by the EC itself rather than leaving it in the hand of ROs or depending on the election petition of interested parties.

Monday October 13, 2008 MYT 1:49:58 PM
BN withdraws Kulim-Bdr Baru election petition
(update)
By EMBUN MAJID(Star)

ALOR STAR: A High Court here has struck out an election petition for the Kulim-Bandar Baru parliamentary seat after Barisan Nasional candidate Datuk Abdul Aziz Sheikh Fadzir withdrew his petition.

Justice Datuk Balia Yusof Wahi made the decision after Abdul Aziz’s counsel Firoz Hussein Ahmad Jamaludin told the court of his client’s decision on Monday.

The withdrawal allowed PKR candidate Zulkifli Nordin to continue as Member of Parliament for Kulim-Bandar Baru.

When met outside the court Monday, Abdul Aziz said that his decision to withdraw the petition was made after discussions with Barisan leaders.

He said the decision was made after taking into consideration the current economic situation.

“I am willing to sacrifice my right to challenge Zulkifli so that the people and the government can work together to stabilise the country’s political, economic and unity situation, which are in critical condition right now,” he said.

He said that he also respected the decision made by Kulim-Bandar Baru voters in the March 8 general election.

Abdul Aziz also said that he would continue to serve the people in Kulim-Bandar Baru through a Barisan service centre that he had since set up.

In the petition he filed in April this year, he had named Zulkifli, the returning officer and the Election Commission (EC) as the first, second and third respondents respectively.

Abdul Aziz had requested the court to declare that the March 8 election results for the Kulim-Bandar Baru seat be null and void.

Zulkifli won the seat, polling 22,255 votes against Abdul Aziz’s 5,583.

Zulkifli was recently embroiled in the controversy involving the Bar Council forum on Muslim conversion.

The PKR disciplinary committee is inquiring into his action, but has not taken any disciplinary measure yet.

In the petition Abdul Aziz claimed that Zulkifli had failed to submit his statement of expenditure when he contested the Kuala Langat parliamentary seat in the 2004 general election, which contravenes the Election Act.

Abdul Aziz also claimed that the returning officer had failed to act against Zulkifli’s nomination despite the fact that EC had the documents confirming Zulkifli’s failure to submit his statement of expenditure.

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The electoral culture in Malaysia is still far from the international standards of free and fair elections, as reflected by the high number of election complaints received by UMNO’s own disciplinary committee. The same could be said of the conducts in other parties. Such conducts may explain how the national elections tend to follow free and fair standards only in exception. May be something need to be done at party election as well-to promote free and fair national elections.

NST Online » Local News
2008/10/09
521 complaints of Umno election abuse
By Sajahan Abdul Waheednews@nst.com.my

Tan Sri Tengku Ahmad Rithaudeen Tengku Ismail says action will be taken without fear or favour against any individual found guilty of breaching the code of conduct. With him is board member Datuk Alias Ali.
Tan Sri Tengku Ahmad Rithaudeen Tengku Ismail says action will be taken without fear or favour against any individual found guilty of breaching the code of conduct. With him is board member Datuk Alias Ali.

KUALA LUMPUR: The Umno disciplinary board has received 521 complaints of election sabotage and money politics during branch meetings in July and August.
Board chairman Tan Sri Tengku Ahmad Rithaudeen Tengku Ismail said yesterday investigations into 116 complaints had been completed, and 10 members had been called to give explanations.

The disciplinary board had on Sept 29 also suspended nine members, including a division chief, for election sabotage and political corruption. Another member was let off with a warning.

The board has yet to investigate 54 complaints, while the other cases either had no merit, needed more documents or were outside its jurisdiction.

Tengku Rithaudeen said he was disappointed with the high number of complaints.

“This is indeed sad as we expect all party members to adhere to the code of ethics,” he said at the party headquarters.

Tengku Rithaudeen urged party members contesting posts in the divisions and at the supreme council to ensure they observed election regulations.

“We are very strict about this. We will take action without fear or favour against any individual who is found guilty of breaching the code of conduct.

“As the divisional meetings start on Thursday, I hope that my statement will be a reminder.

“Candidates contesting for posts in the supreme council or divisions can organise events, provided that they are done in a group and not individually.

“They will also have to get approval from party headquarters or the state liaison committee.”

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