• Has the Election Commission just implicated itself by admitting that it has destroyed the electoral rolls it used for the 1994 and 2003 delimitation exercises?

    Media Statement by Dr. Ong Kian Ming, MP for Serdang, on the 22nd of July, 2017

    Has the Election Commission just implicated itself by admitting that it has destroyed the electoral rolls it used for the 1994 and 2003 delimitation exercises?

    The recent decision made by the Court of Appeal on Thursday, 20th of July, 2017, to set aside the High Court order for the Election Commission to provide the Selangor government information on 136,272 registered voters without proper addresses, may seem like a setback for those seeking to put a stop to the ongoing delimitation exercise. But part of the argument used by the federal counsel – namely that the Election Commission had discarded the records of these voters from the electoral rolls used in the 1994 and 2003 delimitation exercise – may come back to haunt the Election Commission.

    The Selangor government can still appeal the Court of Appeal judgment at the Federal Court. But even if it loses the appeal at the apex court, the judicial review filed by the Selangor government against the Election Commission will still have to be heard at the High Court (Proceedings were postponed while waiting for the Court of Appeal decision stated above).

    Recall that in December 2016, the High Court granted leave to the Selangor state government for its judicial review challenging the constitutionality of the ongoing delimitation exercise, which started on the 15th of September, 2016.

    To recap, the judicial review case brought forth by the Selangor government was based on the following four grounds:

    1. Ground ONE: The EC’s Proposals are Unconstitutional as Tainted by Malapportionment and Gerrymandering
    2. Ground TWO: The Electoral Roll Complaint:  Unconstitutionality arising from the EC’s failure to use the Current Electoral Rolls
    3. Ground THREE: Election Commission’s Use of a Defective Electoral Roll With Missing Addresses of Voters
    4. Ground FOUR: Insufficient Particulars in the Proposed Recommendations Which Impaired Right To Make Meaningful Representations

    By admitting that it has destroyed previous records of voters, including details containing the addresses of these voters, the Election Commission may have opened the door for its ongoing delimitation exercise to be questioned under Ground THREE (see above), which is the use of a defective electoral roll to conduct the delimitation exercise.

    To make things easier to understand, let me illustrate with a simple example. Jalan Cheras is a very long road which starts in the heart of Kuala Lumpur at the intersection between Jalan Pudu and Jalan Tun Razak. It snakes through many housing areas in Cheras before finally ending in the center of Kajang town. (One has to remember that the naming of this road predated the creation of the Federal Territories Kuala Lumpur so the entire Jalan Cheras would have been in the state of Selangor)

    Imagine if the voter was assigned to a particular locality along Jalan Cheras and the exact address of this voter was subsequently destroyed. How will the Election Commission determine which constituency this voter will be placed if the boundaries of the constituencies of the seats along Jalan Cheras were to be changed? At the time of writing, under the boundaries used in the 2013 general elections, Jalan Cheras passes through the P123 Cheras parliamentary constituency and the N23 Dusun Tua and N25 Kajang state seats in the P101 Hulu Langat parliament constituency. With the rapid development which has happened and is currently happening along Jalan Cheras, how can the EC accurately determine which constituency to place a voter without knowing his or her exact address?

    In reality, the dirty little secret which the EC already knows but does not want to admit to is that our electoral roll is seriously flawed. In the past, when the BN was dominant and there was little scrutiny of the electoral roll, the EC allowed politicians (mostly from the BN) to register voters en masse with little regard to knowing exactly where these voters were living at. Some had complete addresses, others didn’t. Prior to 2002, voters did not need to register according to their IC address. We are still living with this legacy till today. Which is why there is a large number of voters without complete addresses even in developed states like Selangor and Kuala Lumpur.

    This much was clear to me as I uncovered various problems associated with the electoral roll under the Malaysian Electoral Roll Analysis Project (MERAP) in 2012.

    This is also the reason why lawyers representing the EC always refer to Section 9A of the Elections Act 1958 which prevents a gazetted electoral roll from being challenged in court. They hide behind this so-called ‘defense’ even though in this particular case, the Selangor government is not questioning the inclusion of these 136,272 voters in the electoral roll, but is asking for more information to determine if the constituency delimitation process has been carried out in accordance to constitutional principles.

    The fight against the unfair delimitation exercise will continue. The judicial review case taken up by the Selangor government has prevented the Election Commission from starting the First Round of the constitutionally mandated public hearing process. The High Court also recently ruled in favour of the Selangor state government by granting an injuction application to stop the Election Commission from passing the delimitation exercise proposal to the Prime Minister without the inclusion of Selangor.

    The judicial review in the High Court will continue. In the worst of circumstances, even if the High Court rules against the Selangor government, the EC must complete two rounds of a public hearing including a public display of maps and relevant information between rounds one and two before the delimitation exercise for Peninsular Malaysia can be completed. This gives time for the Selangor government to mount an appeal all the way up to the Federal Court if necessary.

    There is also another High Court hearing on the right of the EC to move voters from the Batang Kali state seat to the Kuala Kubu state seat in Selangor during the ‘boundary correction’ exercise which took place in April 2016.

    The Election Commission must be surprised by the slew of court cases taken up by the Pakatan Harapan state governments in Selangor and Penang and by groups of affected voters in various states including Penang, Perak, Selangor, Kuala Lumpur, Melaka and Johor. Even though some of these cases have been ruled in the favour of the EC, it must know that the will of the people cannot be defeated so easily, especially when the pressure for reforming our electoral system is maintained by organisations such as BERSIH and by supporters who want clean and fair elections in Malaysia.

    Dr. Ong Kian Ming
    Member of Parliament for Serdang

  • Is the Election Commission (EC) trying to add voters via the ‘back door’ to help the BN win the next General Election?

    Media Statement by Dr. Ong Kian Ming, MP for Serdang, on the 31st of May, 2017

    Is the Election Commission (EC) trying to add voters via the ‘back door’ to help the BN win the next General Election?

    I was shocked when I received a photo yesterday of the display of new voters for the First Quarter, 2017 at the offices of the Selangor Election Commission in Shah Alam. In the picture, it was stated that the list of voters displayed were “Pameran Senarai Tuntutuan” or Display of List Based on Claims (See Figure 1 below).

    Figure 1: Display of List based on Claims at the Selangor Election Commission office in Shah Alam

    As far as I know, this is the first time where I have seen a display of a list of voters based on ‘tuntutan’ or claims. Unlike the display of the quarterly “Rang Daftar Pemilih Tambahan (RDPT)”, the Election Commission did not make any media statement to notify the public that these additional names to be added into the electoral roll were on display nor did the Election Commission display these names in locations in each of the parliamentary areas in Selangor.

    The EC is making use of a little used and little known section of the Elections (Registration of Electors) Regulations 2002 – Section 14 – which states the following:

    Section 14 of the Regulations is supposed to address the problem of genuine mistakes by the Election Commission, for example, in the case where an EC staff forget to input a name into the latest RDPT or for some reason, the information of a voter who registers at a post office fails to be included in the latest RDPT.

    However, according to data collected by PEMUDA AMANAH, a total of 28416 voters were added using Section 14 of the Regulations in this most recent display including 1,170 voters in Selangor (See Figure 2 below). Does the EC expected us to believe that it somehow ‘forgot’ to include over 28,000 voters in the RDPT for Quarter 1, 2017? In addition, why is there a big rush on the part of the EC to add these voters now rather than to wait until the public display of the RDPT for Quarter 2, 2017? Is it because the EC wants to make sure that these voters are on the electoral roll if the General Elections were to be called in September?

    Figure 2: Number of voters added using Section 14 of the Elections (Registration of Electors) Regulations 2002
    Source: PEMUDA AMANAH

    An analysis of the voters added in Selangor shows that all of the voters added are based in military camps and / or are military voters and their spouses (See sample in Figure 3 below). Let me clearly state that I am not objecting to the addition of army voters into the electoral roll. Rather, I am questioning the procedure by which they have been added.

    I have written to the Director of the Selangor Election Commission to explain the addition of these voters and why they were not added during the public display of the first quarter, 2017, of the RDPT. The failure of the EC to provide an adequate explanation will jeopardise public trust in the integrity of the electoral roll.

    Dr. Ong Kian Ming
    Member of Parliament for Serdang

    Figure 3: Sample of Military voters added via Section 14 of the Elections (Registration of Electors) Regulations 2002

  • Election Commission (EC) should not allow groundless and baseless objections to take place in Selangor

    Media Statement by Dr. Ong Kian Ming, MP for Serdang, on the 18th of April, 2017

    Election Commission (EC) should not allow groundless and baseless objections to take place in Selangor

    Yesterday morning, myself and my colleague, ADUN for Kuala Kubu Baru, Lee Kee Hiong, visited the Election Commission Selangor branch office in Shah Alam to observe the voters who had been objected to (Orang Kena Bantah or OKBs). According to our estimates, approximately 400 voters from 4 parliamentary constituencies – about 100 from each constituency – were objected to. Specifically, voters from the state seats of N7 Batang Kali in the P94 Hulu Selangor parliament seat, N8 Sungai Burong and N9 Permatang in the P95 Tanjong Kajang parliament seat, N23 Dusun Tua and N24 Semenyih in the P101 Hulu Langat parliament seat, N29 Seri Serdang in the P103 Puchong parliament seat.

    From our visit and our interviews with the OKBs, the following was made clear:

    (i) The grounds on which the OKBs were objected to were groundless and baseless. For example, voters in the P103 Puchong parliament seat were objected to based on the reason of ‘pemilih diragui’ or ‘doubtful voter’ even though there was no further proof given as to why this voter was consider as ‘doubtful’ (See Appendix 1). For voters in the P101 Hulu Langat parliament seat, the copy and paste reason given was ‘pengundi tidak dapat dikesan di alamat tersebut’ or the voter could not be identified at the registered address (See Appendix 2 below).

    (ii) The only commonality shared by all the voters being objected to was that they were Chinese voters. Of the list of voters being objected to which I took pictures of Appendix 2 to Appendix 5), all of the names were Chinese names.

    (iii) A number of those who made the objections did not show up on this day.

    (iv) For the cases where the objectors showed up, no proof was given as to why they objected to the newly registered voters. Almost all of the OKBs who showed up spent only a few minutes in the hearing room and had their objection rejected (See Appendix 6).

    Under the Elections (Registration of Electors) Regulations 2002, Section 15 (5) states that “Upon receipt of an objection under this regulation, the Registrar may, if he is of the opinion that the particulars given in the objection are insufficient, request for further information from the objector who shall furnish the information within seven days from the date he receives such request” and Section 15 (6) states that “Where the objector fails to furnish the information in the manner provided for in subregulation (5), the objection shall be deemed to have been withdrawn and the Registrar shall take no further action”.

    It is clear from the EC’s own regulations that they, acting in the capacity of the Registrar, can reject these baseless objections on the grounds of insufficient evidence and information. To allow such groundless objections to be filed is to (i) make a mockery of the objection process (ii) waste the valuable time of the voters who turn up at the public hearings and (iii) deny the right of registration to those voters who did not turn up to the public hearing for various reasons e.g. could not take leave from work, no transportation to Shah Alam, attending college or university. We call upon the EC to reject the objections which fail to provide sufficient evidence and information so that the right of legitimate voters to be registered is protected and upheld.

    (Selected pictures in Appendix 7 below)

    Dr. Ong Kian Ming
    Member of Parliament for Serdang

    Appendix 1: Example of a baseless objection in Puchong

    Appendix 2: List of voters objected to in P101 Hulu Langat

    Appendix 3: Voters Objected to in P94 Hulu Selangor

    Appendix 4: Voters Objected to in P95 Tanjong Karang

    Appendix 5: Voters Objected to in P103 Puchong

    Appendix 6: Sample Form of ‘Bantahan di tolak’ or Objection is rejected

    Appendix 7: Pictures of Ong Kian Ming and Lee Kee Hiong at the EC office in Shah Alam

  • Why is the Election Commission (EC) allowing UMNO to make spurious objections to young people being registered as voters, especially in Selangor?

    Media Statement by Dr. Ong Kian Ming, MP for Serdang, on the 8th of April, 2017

    Why is the Election Commission (EC) allowing UMNO to make spurious objections to young people being registered as voters, especially in Selangor?

    From Quarter 1 to Quarter 3 2016, a total of 4694 objections were received by the Election Commission. Out of this total, 4427 or 94% were objections that were filed in Selangor. This clearly shows that the focus of the objection exercise is in Selangor.

    Our analysis of the objections from Q1 to Q3 2016 in Selangor shows two distinct trends. Firstly, out of the 36 seats which have objections, 30 or 86% were in seats which were contested by UMNO in the 2013 general elections. Secondly, of the 4427 objections in Selangor, 92.8% were Chinese voters, 5.8% were Indian voters and 1.2% were Malay voters. (See Table 1 below)

    This trend continued in Q4 2016. A total of 2550 objections were lodged in Selangor in 24 state seats. Out of the 24 state seats, 20 or 83% were seats contested by UMNO in GE2013. Out of the 2550 voters being objected to, 79.1% were Chinese voters, 6.3% were Indian voters and 14.2% were Malay voters (See Table 2 below).

    We are not against the right to file objections against voters but these objections have to be filed based on solid grounds. For example, our colleagues in Johor have filed objections based on investigations that voters were being registered en masse in shop houses and in addresses which they do not live in. In the case of Selangor, we have received many complaints about objections that were made on spurious grounds such as ‘the address of the voter cannot be found’ or ‘the voter is not known by the local residents’ when in fact, the objector has never visited the voter at his or her registered address!

    We have received anecdotal evidence that the objections in Selangor are being filed by UMNO members and UMNO linked entities. At a time when the Election Commission is supposed to be encouraging more young Malaysians to register to vote, it is unacceptable that it is allowing UMNO to carry out race based voter objections in Selangor which will end up depriving thousands of young Malaysians from exercising their constitutional right to vote in the next general election. The Election Commission should act immediately to stop these baseless objections which are happening in Selangor.

    Dr. Ong Kian Ming
    Member of Parliament for Serdang

  • More mistakes by the Election Commission in the 2nd Public Display of the 2016 Delimitation Exercise (or “Syor 2”)?

    Media Statement by Dr. Ong Kian Ming, Member of Parliament of Serdang, 17th of March, 2017

    More mistakes by the Election Commission in the 2nd Public Display of the 2016 Delimitation Exercise (or “Syor 2”)?

    Yesterday, I highlighted two possible mistakes by the Election Commission in the 2nd public display of the 2016 delimitation exercise (referred to as “Syor 2” here on). There was a case of a ‘missing’ polling station in Johor and also a case of a new polling station in Pahang.

    In today’s statement, I want to highlight 10 cases where the number of voters in polling stations have been changed from the first public display (Syor 1) to the second public display (Syor 2). Why is this an issue? Think of the delimitation exercise as one big jigsaw puzzle. Each polling station is one piece of the jigsaw puzzle. From Syor 1 to Syor 2, the Election Commission can shift polling stations from one state seat to another, but it cannot change the size and composition of the individual polling stations. The reasoning is simple: If voters are shifted from one polling station to another between Syor 1 and Syor 2, there is no way for the voters to know if they are the ones who have been shifted. This would obviously affect their constitutional right to object to the delimitation exercise under Syor 2.

    For example, in Syor 1, the Taman Temiang Jaya polling station in the N12 Temiang state seat under the P128 Seremban parliament seat had 2994 voters (See Figure 1 below)

    Figure 1: Taman Temiang polling station with 2994 voters in N12 Temiang under the P128 Seremban parliament seat

    However, under Syor 2, the number of voters in the Taman Temiang Jaya polling station has decreased from 2994 voters to 2412 voters (See Figure 2 below). Note that the number of voters for the other polling stations remain the same. Note also, that I am not challenging the ability of the EC to shift polling stations from one state seat to another, which is what it has done to the Kampong Nee Yan polling station (from N12 Temiang to N11 Lobak). What I am challenging is the EC’s ability to change the composition of the individual polling stations and hence the number of voters in each polling station from Syor 1 to Syor 2.

    For example, if I am one of the 2994 voters in Taman Temiang Jaya in Syor 1, I have no idea if I am still a voter in Taman Temiang Jaya in Syor 2 or if I have been shifted to another polling station. So, I cannot make an objection even if I wanted to since I have no idea which polling station or which state seat or which parliament seat I will be voting in if Syor 2 is passed in parliament.

    Figure 2: Number of voters in Taman Temiang Jaya reduced from 2994 in Syor 1 to 2412 in Syor 2

    Another example of this mistake made by the EC is found in the Sura Gate polling station in the N27 Sura state seat under the P39 Dungun parliament seat. In Syor 1, the Sura Gate polling station has 1387 voters (Figure 3 below). In Syor 2, the number of voters in Sura Gate has been increased to 2550 (Figure 4 below).

    Figure 3: Sura Gate polling station in N27 Sura state seat in P39 Dungun parliament seat with 1387 voters in Syor 1

    Figure 4: Number of voters in Sura Gate polling station increased to 2550 in Syor 2

    In total, I identified 10 such cases, whereby the number of voters in each polling station was changed from Syor 1 to Syor 2. The full list of polling stations is listed in Table 1 below.

    The EC needs to state if it has made a mistake in changing the number of voters in these polling stations from Syor 1 to Syor 2. The failure to do so may mean that the constitutional right of certain voters to voice their objections to the delimitation exercise proposal in Syor 2 are affected.

    Dr. Ong Kian Ming
    Member of Parliament for Serdang

    Table 1: 10 Polling Stations where the number of voters have changed from Syor 1 to Syor 2

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