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

Did SPR make mistakes in Syor 2 of the Delimitation Exercise by excluding existing polling stations and adding in new polling stations?

Media Statement by Dr. Ong Kian Ming, MP for Serdang, on the 16th of March, 2017

Did SPR make mistakes in Syor 2 of the Delimitation Exercise by excluding existing polling stations and adding in new polling stations?

On the 8th of March, 2017, the Election Commission (EC) published a notice to announce the official start of the 2nd round of the public display for the 2016 constituency delimitation exercise for Peninsular Malaysia (excluding Selangor). This notice was published in the Federal Gazette[1], in mainstream newspapers and can also be found in land offices and district offices in each state in Peninsular Malaysia.

By going through the first delimitation proposal first published on the 15th of September, 2016 (Syor 1) and the second delimitation proposal published on the 8th of March, 2017 (Syor 2), I was able to identify polling districts (or daerah mengundi) which were included in Syor 1 but were excluded in Syor 2. For example, the polling district of Kampong Teratai, with 876 voters, was listed under the state constituency of N9 Gambir under P144 Ledang in the state of Johor (Figure 1 below). This was one of the many polling stations that were taken out of the P143 Pagoh parliament seat and moved into the P144 Ledang parliament seat.

Figure 1: Kampong Teratai polling station with 876 voters in N9 Gambir under P144 Ledang in Johor, published in Syor 1 on the 15th of September, 2016

Surprisingly, in Syor 2, the Kampong Teratai polling district is missing. So where did this polling station go? Why does this matter? The reason why this matters is because if the 876 voters in Kampong Teratai do not know which state and parliamentary seat they have been placed, they cannot object to the delimitation exercise as shown in Syor 2. Hence, they would be deprived of their constitutional right to object, which is spelt out in Section 5 of the Thirteenth Schedule of the Federal Constitution.

As it turns out, it is likely that the Kampong Teratai polling station was moved back to the P143 Pagoh parliamentary constituency under the N7 Bukit Kepong state constituency. The total number of voters in N7 Bukit Kepong is given as 27350 in Syor 2 (See Figure 2 below) but the sum of voters obtained by adding up the number of voters in the 26 polling stations in N7 Bukit Kepong shown in Syor 2 is only 26474.[2] This means there is a different of 876 voters in N7 Bukit Kepong which, coincidentally is also the number of voters in the Kampung Teratai polling station which is missing from Syor 2.

Figure 2: The 26 polling stations in N7 Bukit Kepong (under P143 Pagoh) in Syor 2 showing 27350 voters but adds up to only 26474 voters (difference of 876 voters)

If the Election Commission (EC) has indeed made a mistake by leaving out the Kampong Teratai polling district from the N7 Bukit Kepong state seat, it should immediately publish a correction in the gazette and in the mainstream newspapers. Failure to do so may mean that this second public notice is unconstitutional.

At the same time, I also found examples of where new polling stations were added in Syor 2. While the Election Commission has the right to add new polling stations, it must do so under Section 7 (2) of the Elections Act 1958. The Election Commission reconfigured existing and added new polling stations on the 29th of April, 2016 under this provision in the Elections Act 1958. (See Figure 3 below).

Figure 3: Reconfiguring existing and adding new polling stations under Section 7 (2) of the Elections Act 1958 (Announced in the Federal Gazette on the 29th of April, 2016)

If the Election Commission had wanted to add in new polling stations, it must do so under Section 7 (2) of the Elections Act 1958. It cannot do so between Syor 1 and Syor 2 of the delimitation exercise. But this was exactly what the Election Commission did when it added in the new polling station of Taman Rimba in the state constituency of N30 Mentakab under the P88 Temerloh parliamentary constituency in Syor 2 (See Figure 4 below). Taman Rimba was not a polling station in Syor 1 of the delimitation exercise.

The adding of new polling stations affects the ability of voters to make objections to the delimitation exercise as shown in Syor 2 since voters may not know that they have been assigned to the new polling station such as the one created in N30 Mentakab. If this is the case, then their constitutional right, under Section 5 of the Thirteenth Schedule of the Federal Constitution, will be affected.

Figure 4: Addition of a new polling station called Taman Rimba in Syor 2 in N30 Mentakab, P88 Temerloh

Based on the evidence presented here, the Election Commission should immediately answer the following two questions: (i) have polling stations which were originally in Syor 1 been mistakenly left out in Syor 2 (e.g. Kampong Teratai in N7 Bukit Kepong under P143 Pagoh) and (ii) have there been new polling stations created in Syor 2 and why was this not done under Section 7 (2) of the Elections Act 1958.

Failure to do so would affect the constitutionality and the procedural validity of the entire delimitation exercise for the States of Malaya.

Dr. Ong Kian Ming
Member of Parliament for Serdang

Appendix 1: List of polling stations and number of voters in N7 Bukit Kepong in Syor 2

[1] http://www.federalgazette.agc.gov.my/outputp/pub_20170308_PU%20(B)%20127%20(2)%20latest.pdf

[2] Refer to Appendix 1 below to check the total number of voters as shown in Syor 2.