Election Commission’s professionalism, credibility and integrity plunged to its lowest point

The Election Commission’s professionalism, credibility and integrity plunged to its lowest point in its 53-year history in the Sibu by-election unless it could satisfactorily explain the two-and-a-half hour delay in announcing the results on polling night and the 9.37% or 5,172-voter mistake in voter turnout.

Counting for postal ballot ended at around 8.30 pm on polling day and almost instantaneously, Barisan Nasional and SUPP leaders left the Counting Centre at the Civics Centre – a sign to all that they knew at that time that the BN had lost the by-election.

The mystery remains three days after the by-election as to why the Election Commission delayed for two-and-a-half hours before announcing the results.

DAP leaders did not “storm” the Sanyan Building where the postal ballots were counted, but we went over there from the DAP Sibu Ops Centre to find out what was happening.

When I arrived there with DAP Secretary-General and Penang Chief Minister, Lim Guan Eng, as well as a battery of DAP MPs and State Assembly representatives from all over the country at about 9.30 pm, counting of postal ballots had already been completed for an hour but there was a “standoff” as there was no Election Commission official to issue Form 15 to certify the final tally for the postal ballots counted.

It was then that I decided to launch a tweet offensive to ask the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak whether he recognized the democratic choice of the voters of Sibu to elect Wong Ho Leng as the new Sibu Member of Parliament and raising the question whether there was any attempt to steal the Sibu by- election from the voters of Sibu.

The incredible bungling of the Election Commission about the voter turnout defies belief. It is something that should never have happened – and up to now, the Election Commission has not bothered to explain how it could make such a colossal blunder.

I had on my twitter on polling day tracked the hourly announcement of the Election Commission on the voter turnout and I was very concerned about the low-turnout from the very start, causing me to compare the high voter turn-outs in the recant Hulu Selangor by-election with comments, viz:

9 am – 6.33% or 3,310 voters. Very low!

10am – 20.61% or 11,270 voters.

11am – 28.83% or 15,767 voters. In HuluSelangor, 38.21% voter turnout by 11 am.

12noon – 37% or 20,241 voters- in Hula Selangor 49.04% turnout by noon.

1pm – 42.24% or 23,103 voters. HuluSelangor had registered 56.82% at 1 pm. Ten polling stations closed @ 1pm.

2pm – 46.29% or 25,319 voters. HS had registered 63.74% at 2pm Prospect looks grim unless there is high turnout

3pm – 53.02% or 29,000 voters. HS had registered 67.18% at 3pm. Sibu Miracle?

At 3.48pm I tweeted :
Rantau Panjang closed 1pm 82.5% voter turnout. 1hr 2 end polling. Some urban areas turnout 50%. Not enuf 4 Sibu Miracle

4pm – 56.9% or 31,119 voters. At 4pm HS byelection had 73.82% turnout. 1 hr left. Election commission forecast 80%

At 6.52pm, I tweeted:
5pm – 59.86% or 32,742 voters. The total in postal votes are 2,537.

When making the announcement of the final voter turnout of 59.85 per cent or 32,742 voters, the Election Commission Chairman Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof publicly expressed disappointment over the low turnout – a far cry from the Election Commission’s earlier estimate of 80%.

Mysteriously at around 9pm, Abdul Aziz sent out word that the voter turnout “may actually be more than 60 percent” and when the official results were announced at about 11 pm after a mysterious two-and-a-half hour delay, the voter turnout proved to be a total of 37,919 voters or 69.23 per cent of the 54,895 registered voters.

What was the cause of the 9.39% or 5,172 vote discrepancy in the voter turnout between in a matter of hours, and why was the Election Commission’s hourly tally of the voter turnout completely wrong and utterly useless?

Who must take responsibility for these two colossal errors of the Election Commission, not to mention other irregularities and improprieties whether on polling day or during the eight-day campaign?

As Election Commission Chairman, is Abdul Aziz prepared to accept full personal responsibility for such colossal errors In the Sibu by-election?

Or is Abdul Aziz going to bury his head under the sand and pretend not to hear or know of demands for responsibility and accountability for the Election Commission’s scandalous mistakes on polling day in Sibu by-election?

Is Aziz prepared to accept full responsibility and recommend to the Prime Minister the establishment of a full public independent inquiry into the two-and-a-half hour delay in the announcement of the Sibu by-election result, the 9.37% or 5,172-voter discrepancy in the voter turnout, the abuses of the postal ballots and other electoral irregularities to demonstrate that the Election Commission is truly Independent and professional and wants a tree, fair and clean electoral system?

  1. #1 by buy election on Wednesday, 19 May 2010 - 12:40 pm

    Did anyone catch the hand phone signal of the chief of the Election Commission? Can we verify his records of that evening through the phone company?

    How about the fact that so many voters were moved from Sibu to Lanang?

  2. #2 by k1980 on Wednesday, 19 May 2010 - 12:47 pm

    Aziz would had acted differently had his salary and promotional prospects, in short, his entire past, present and future, depend on PR and not umno.

  3. #3 by k1980 on Wednesday, 19 May 2010 - 12:48 pm

    KUALA LUMPUR, May 19 — Syariah Judge Wan Mahyuddin Wan Muhammad today sentenced Kinabatangan Member of Parliament Datuk Bung Moktar Radin to one month jail sentence for committing polygamy without the consent of court.

    Why not a RM2,000 fine? Then there would be another by-election in Kinabatangan, where the batang has bocored

  4. #4 by boh-liao on Wednesday, 19 May 2010 - 12:53 pm

    Kinabatangan MP Bung Mokhtar Radin was sentenced to one month’s jail for entering into a polygamous marriage without the consent of a Syariah Court
    He was also slapped with a RM1,000 fine in default one month’s jail on a second charge
    How come so lenient one when Bung was banging Zizie tak halal-ly 4 so long?
    No rotan caning one? How come?
    Got disqualified as MP or not?
    We want another U satisfy me, I satisfy U-buy bye erection

    Hey, subpoena lah EC chairman’s n officers’ hand phones 2 read their texted messages – any exchange with UmnoBputras n commands fr moo-moo n disgraced bribe-offerer

  5. #5 by Bigjoe on Wednesday, 19 May 2010 - 1:01 pm

    AND Najib say BN machinery not creative enough? How do they get more creative? Shoot people that won’t vote for them? After all Teoh Beng Hock, Kugan, Amirul die also never mind, what is a few opposition voter…

  6. #6 by Ramesh Laxman on Wednesday, 19 May 2010 - 1:25 pm

    Dear Y.B. Lim,
    Professionalism, integrety, credibility,and may I add honesty are characteristics that have been made obsolete and replaced with new and ‘better traits’ that our political system demands. Today if you do not tie the horse where your boss wants you tie it even if you know for a fact that it will die there you are a dead duck.

    In the meantime, political leaders pay homage to traits such as professionalism, integrety, credibility and honesty. We the people are constantly reminded that we must live and die by those traits. But sadly when these words soon apply to them their respone is politicians always uphold professionalism, integrety, credibilty, and honesty. They remain in a grip of denial so strong that if not corrected will destroy all that we have built.Our only hope is the politicians discover that the greatest lesson that they had tought was the one they themselves had to learn.

  7. #7 by Leong Yook Kong on Wednesday, 19 May 2010 - 1:34 pm

    We, ordinary Malaysian, have to live with this sort of rots until there is a change soonest. If not, we have to resigns to our fates.

    Malaysians expect the government service to practice norms of professionalism, fairness and integrity. Moreover, it should be efficient and competent in its dealings with the public.
    1. Why is the Director General, Department of Skills Development continuing to evade the issue of year 2007 letter that up to now is more than 5 months? This letter surfaced at the same time the Director General was promoted.
    2. Is the Director General prepared to come clean to resolve the issue immediately instead of hoping time will cure it?
    3. Why is the Director General so afraid of giving a complete and conclusive reply to the authenticity of the letter?
    4. Why is the Director General invoking the “obligations for secercy” clause to delay answering?

    The above list is not exhaustive.

  8. #8 by Jeffrey on Wednesday, 19 May 2010 - 1:50 pm

    Based on EC’s own explanation the procedures are: postal votes are returned by Form 2 to the counting center for postal votes. After tallying the counts there EC official will issue Form 15 signed by both sides to certify the final tally for the postal ballots counted. The postal votes will then be taken to the central counting hall.

    YB Kit said that “there was no Election Commission official to issue Form 15 to certify the final tally for the postal ballots counted.”

    Wan Ahmad, the EC’s deputy chairman said that the delay until 9 pm in finalization of the tally and issuance of Form 15 was due to the DAP’s candidate and his agents not signing the Form 15 and wanting “to inspect every postal ballot and they had disputed too many items, down to the serial numbers, signatures, and more…They combed through every envelope, over 2,000 of these… when they raise too many objections, it will take a lot longer to finish the count”.

    Even if I accept Wan Ahmad’s version that DAP’s candidate and his agents “want to inspect every postal ballot and they had disputed too many items, down to the serial numbers, signatures, and more” – DAP’s candidate and his agents had a REASONABLE cause to do what they did because of suspicion of at least a 1000 “phantom” postal votes favouring BN candidate which might have been counted as good by EC (when they were not) and accepted in toto had the DAP just signed the form 15 and not objected.

    Form 2, the Return for postal votes will state the names, identification numbers and information about the voters and are supposed to be signed by the voters themselves as well as their witnesses.

    Pahang PKR secretariat director Zaidi Ahmad, who monitored postal votes said “that there “was something wrong with the signatures — the same witness would sign differently on different forms and on some forms, the voters themselves did not even sign them. This means that others had signed on their behalf,” he alleged.

    The fact that in the end 208 postal votes were actually rejected by EC after much haggling due to discrepancies in Form 2 proves the point against the EC – that DAP had been right to be vigilant and fussy about examining Form 2 postal votes and had the EC’s officials been vigilant and fair to both sides, they would have expeditiously rejected or agreed with rejection of these phantom postal votes without the need of 2-hour of arguments and haggling from the Opposition’s candidate and agents regarding why they should do so.

  9. #9 by sheriff singh on Wednesday, 19 May 2010 - 2:22 pm

    That’s why many State and Parliament seats will be decided by these postal votes (Sibu excepted this time). And you know who will benefit.

    Why soldiers need to vote early puzzles me unless the army, navy etc are required to be on duty on polling day itself. They all need to vote at some point and why not on polling day itself? How do the uniform personnel vote in other countries?

    Unless this postal votes thing can be resolved, there will always be doubts about the fairness, the transparency about its reliability.

    In Sibu, rumours and messages about “more boxes coming” and “missing boxes” were flying about during counting time.

    Our Elections Commission is in dire need of reform but its unlikely to happen any time soon. They got a good thing going for them so why fix it when it is to your advantage?

  10. #10 by sheriff singh on Wednesday, 19 May 2010 - 2:36 pm

    “…..to inspect every postal ballot and they had disputed too many items, down to the serial numbers, signatures, and more…They combed through every envelope, over 2,000 of these… when they raise too many objections, it will take a lot longer to finish the count”….EC.

    This joker missed the point. The counting was completed at 8.30 pm despite all the scrutiny. There was a delay till about11 pm. He could not explain this delay.

    Secondly, the statement just confirms that vigorous scrutiny was necessary due to the lack of trust and the need to be transparent. There’s just too much hanky panky going on.

    And last I hear, the Syariah Court judge just sentenced Bung the Dung to one month’s jail….but sweet Zizie can keep him company. So its going to be another honeymoon. He should serve his time at Sepilok.

  11. #11 by rahmanwang on Wednesday, 19 May 2010 - 2:59 pm

    Is there anything new?These “erection” commission are all working for BN.Just like the MACC.They are all corrupted.

  12. #12 by drngsc on Wednesday, 19 May 2010 - 3:29 pm

    It is obviously true to all of us, that the EC is NOT creditable. What we are all very worried about is, is the alternative any better should their turn come.
    The last few weeks have given us much food for thought about the alternative that we were all looking up to for the next government.
    Pakatan Rakyat, you have to pull up all your socks.

  13. #13 by 9to5 on Wednesday, 19 May 2010 - 3:42 pm

    It may also be due to DAP and PR’s fault! This postal fiasco happens not only in Sibu but practically every by-elections. But each time there’s some initial hoo-haa and then everything died down. Like in this Sibu by-election, no action has been taken against Najib’s vote buying antics and very soon this 2 and half hour delay by the EC will be forgotten – until the next by-election comes along and the same thing will be raised time and again.

    DAP thinks that after all they had won the by-elections, there’s no point in pursuing the matter further. That’s what encourages the EC to get bolder because they think that they can get away with it every time since nobody took action!

    DAP or PR should grab the bulls by its horns NOW and bring the matter up to the world’s Election monitoring body or pursue legal action court where the EC will be subject to questionings in the open – never mind the court will let them off eventually. At least this will deter them from being too blatant in future and the public will be aware of the biases of EC!

  14. #14 by boh-liao on Wednesday, 19 May 2010 - 6:28 pm

    In future state n general elections, we must insist on having independent FOREIGN observers at all polling stations

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