A number of press(Borneo Post, NST, United Daily News and may be others) reported Mafrel’s news release that announced the appointment of Peter John Jaban as Mafrel’s local chief overseeing the Batang Ai by-election observation. A BN party chief James Masing reportedly question the neutrality of the Mafrel’s apointee, who had been an independent candidate in the 2006 State Election. However Mafrel’s policy accepts and welcomes ex-politicians and non-party alligned individuals to its fold, with an eye on tapping the election experience of these individuals. Only active politicians are barred from holding posts in Mafrel. For the record Mafrel had engaged BN & Opposition members as observers in our observation mission and the results showed their neutrality and professionalism brilliantly.
The Borneo Post Online
Tuesday, March 17th, 2009
Masing okays Mafrel but doubts former DJ’s neutral stand
KUCHING: Malaysians for Free and Fair Elections (Mafrel) has come under
fire for appointing a former independent candidate, Peter John Jaban, to
lead its team of observers in the Batang Ai by-election.
The Sarawak Barisan Nasional director of operations for the by-election,
Dato Sri Dr James Masing, is seeing red over the appointment due to John’s
participation in the 2006 State election.
“He had stood in the polls as a candidate therefore he cannot have a
neutral view. I have no problem with Mafrel observing the polls, but they
must pick someone neutral and with the right skills,” he said when
contacted by The Borneo Post yesterday.
When told that Mafrel regarded John as an “active social activist”, Masing
snapped: “You must have a social activist who had never contested and
someone who is seen and known to be neutral. John would have a biased
John, however, brushed off Masing’s claims that he would be bias.
“I am an independent man. I never was, and am not registered with any
parties,” he told reporters after a training session for Mafrel volunteers
John, a former radio DJ, had contested in a three-cornered fight in Layar
in the 2006 polls. He took on Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri
Alfred Jabu, who was the incumbent, and Sarawak National Party (SNAP)
candidate Dayrell Walter Entrie.
John only managed to garner 105 votes, while Walter had 1,090 votes and
Jabu, the eventual winner, collected 3,767 votes.
Mafrel said in a press release yesterday that John was appointed as the
local coordinator to lead the observation team that would cover all 24
polling centres in the Batang Ai by-election.
According to Mafrel, John is an active social activist with extensive
experience working on various human rights issues focusing on native
customary rights land concerns.
The Election Commission had given Mafrel the green light to be the
observer for the by-election. Nomination day has been set for March 29 and
polling, April 7.
Formed in 2003, Mafrel describes itself as a non-partisan election
observation and monitoring organisation. It had monitored the state
election in 2006 and the recent by-elections in Peninsular Malaysia.
Meanwhile, Masing, who is Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) president, advised
the public to be wary of efforts by the opposition to raise funds for the
Batang Ai by-election.
“People should be careful. It can be an avenue for con-jobs and it can be
open to abuse. Otherwise, I think its okay. Maybe they (the opposition)
just want to gauge their support,” he said.
Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) had set up the “Donate RM5 to PKR Batang AI
N29 By-Election” fund where donors are asked to send their money to the
bank account of the party’s state secretary, Piee Ling.
PKR Kuching division chairman, Dominique Ng, confirmed that the fund was
He revealed that the fund was actually proposed by Sarawak Dayak National
Union (SDNU) publicity officer, Dr John Brian Anthony, and PKR’s
headquarters had agreed to it.
“There are already some donations but it is not about the amount, instead
the principle of democratic participation.
“We are always the underdog financially compared to the BN, and our money
will have to come from the ordinary people. But we are going on this
concept of getting people actively involved in the democratic process,” he
NST Online » Local News
NGO starts work to ensure free and fair polls
KUCHING: The non-governmental organisation Malaysians for Free and Fair Elections (Mafrel) has begun its groundwork in Batang Ai.
Its chief coordinator, Peter John Jaban, said Mafrel would position its personnel in all 24 polling stations in the area.
“We will officially begin our duties one week before nomination day,” he said.
Peter also said more than 100 personnel and volunteers will take part in the by-election.
“We will document everything from the moment we begin our operations. This includes attending the ceramah by both sides to make sure they are done in accordance with election law.
“This is going to be a tough by-election. In making sure everything is done fairly, we will post our reports daily on the Mafrel blog.”