13 March 2009
MAFREL WILL MONITOR BY-ELECTIONS IN BUKIT GANTANG, BUKIT SELAMBAU & BATANG AI
Malaysians for Free and Fair Elections (MAFREL) wishes to announce its activity to observe the by-elections at P.059 Bukit Gantang, Perak; N.25 Bukit Selambau, Kedah and N.29 Batang Ai, Sarawak which was announced by the Election Commissions of Malaysia (SPR) to be held simultaneously on 29 March 2009 for nominations and 7 April 2009 for election.
MAFREL views the three by-elections as critical and unique which will impact the country’s political scenario. Candidates and political parties will obviously go all out to ensure victory.
The by-election of P.059 Bukit Gantang, Perak has been dubbed as the by-election that will signal sentiments of the Perak voters on the constitutional crisis and political turmoil in Perak translated in the form of votes or people’s referendum eventhough it is a Parliamentary seat. During MAFREL’s ground assessment of the constituency recently, the heat of elections can be felt with posters and banners flying everywhere eventhough official campaign period has not started. Selected photos of these can be seen at http://www.mafrel.wordpress.com.
The by-election of N.25 Bukit Selambau, Kedah on the other hand can be attributed as a test of the popularity of BN, especially MIC and their record of ethnic relations especially with the Indian community. According to the 12th General Election’s data, Indian voters made up 29.53% of the total voters in Bukit Selambau. Besides that, the intention of many independent candidates to contest makes it more interesting to monitor.
The by-election of N.29 Batang Ai, Sarawak, eventhough in the interior will still be as important as it may determine the political change in Sarawak particularly among the Dayak community towards the Sarawak State Legislative Elections to be held latest by 2011.
Due to these, MAFREL will be conducting election observation of the entire election process beginning with nomination day, campaign period, election day and post-election developments with close focus on the following:
1. Electoral roll
2. Corruption practices, treating of voters and vote buying
3. Abuse of public and government resources
4. Incidence of violent or dangerous acts during the election process
5. Level of security and presence of security forces, especially PDRM
6. Media coverage
MAFREL is confident of observing all the three by-elections with its trained observers. All polling centres will endeavoured to be manned. At the moment, response from volunteers who were previously involved in the 12th General Elections has been overwhelming. However, MAFREL welcomes Malaysian citizens to register themselves as volunteers by visiting http://www.mafrel.wordpress.com or calling MAFREL’s contact number.
Mr Ong Boon Keong as MAFREL’s Northern Region Coordinator will act as the Director of Operations whilst all by-election constituencies will have its own coordinator. Each will issue statements to announce their observation plan, training and mobilisation of volunteers.
MAFREL wishes to express its appreciation to SPR for having given the official accreditation to MAFREL to observe the polling centres at all the three by-elections. MAFREL hopes that full cooperation will be given in processing the Observer Pass including the permission to observe polling and counting process in the polling stations. The accreditation permits observation in the restricted areas as stipulated by the Election Procedures.
In lieu of the high profile status of the three by-elections, MAFREL again stresses its stand to urge SPR to fall back to its earlier agreement to use indelible ink on Election Day. MAFREL opines that only with the use of indelible ink will SPR be able to get rid of election fraud and phantom voters.
MAFREL appeals for credible, peaceful, free and fair election. It is based on the principles of human rights and democracy founded through expressed and implied provisions of the Federal Constitution, international covenants and protocols.
On the basis of these principles, MAFREL urges political contestants and their supporters to secure the rights of the voters in enabling them to freely formulate and decide on their vote without violating the election laws and regulations. The free will and choice of the voters must be respected.
MAFREL urges SPR and the Police to exercise fairness and impartiality in performing their duties and responsibilities throughout the election process taking into consideration electors’ interests as the priority.
Thank you and regards,
Syed Ibrahim Syed Noh
MAFREL is a non-partisan election observation and monitoring organization formed in 2003. Since its inception, MAFREL has conducted electoral rolls verification programmes to research on the issues of phantom voters and authenticity of the electoral rolls in the states of Kelantan, Terengganu, Selangor and Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur. MAFREL has also extensive experience in election observation. Since December 2005, it has conducted extensive election observations in the Pengkalan Pasir, Kelantan by-election (December 2005), the 9th Sarawak State Legislative Assembly Elections (2006), the N.6 Batu Talam by-election (2007), the N.8 Macap by-election (2007), the N.11 Ijok by-election (2007). In March 2008 MAFREL received official accreditation from Suruhanjaya Pilihan Raya Malaysia (SPR) to observe the 12th General Election. It also conducted observation during the by-election in P.044 Permatang Pauh (2008) and P.036 Kuala Terengganu (2009). MAFREL has also participated in international election observation missions in Sri Lanka, the Philippines, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Afghanistan, Thailand and Bangladesh.
For more information, please contact
Tel: +603 4149 4248
Fax: +603 4142 2997
Col (B) Shahrudin Othman (019 23443660, or Arphan Ahmad (012 273 1016)