Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Electoral Reforms Not YET? Sabah elections - postal vote rights for Sabahans in Peninsular and Sarawak? Paid leave to go vote?Financial aid?

FREE AND FAIR ELECTIONS -that was the call by so many Malaysians - we wanted electoral reforms, but alas that did not happen.

During this Covid-19 pandemic, where many have lost jobs and income > how many Sabah voters will be able to afford or go back to Sabah to vote during this Sabah State Elections? How many will even want to RISK it for health reasons given the spike of Covid-19 infections in Sabah? Should the elections be abandoned - postponed to a later date(or until steps can be put in place to ensure all Sabahans can exercise their right to vote in this very important for Sabahans elections?


For a voter working, studying or staying in some other locality, other that where he/she is a registered voter means that on voting day, he/she will have to travel back to that voting district to cast a vote. Not a big deal, if I am working in KL, but am a registered voter in Klang. But for a Sabahan registered voter working or studying in Peninsular Malaysia, having to go back to Sabah to vote, it is a BIG DEAL - it will incur a lot of time and cost, including flights plus also time off from work/studies, and this need to be resolved. Travelling back from KL to Kuantan or Kota Baru or Penang should also end - Most affected will be the POOR, minimum waged worker, etc 

Solution:- Maybe out-station voters can simply vote in the towns that they are in now - surely the EC can arrange for this. No more the need to travel miles and hours, facing traffic jams, just to exercise one's right to vote > Outstation voting could be done the day before the voting day - so there is time for votes to be transfered back to the constituency in time.

The alternative, would be to give Malaysians the right to vote by post, if they are working/living more than 100 Km from their constituency?

POSTAL VOTE - this must be made easily available to any such registered voter, who stays or works maybe more than 100 Km away from their constituency where they have a right to vote.

PAID ELECTION LEAVE - This must be a right accorded to all Malaysians to facilitate their exercise of their right to VOTE. For Sabahans in Peninsular Malaysia and Sarawak, that paid leave(different from annual leave) should be maybe for 3 days - one day to travel back, one day to vote, and one day to travel back to work... This will be a RIGHT for all Malaysians - paid leave to enable voters to return to the constituency to vote. Even if elections are held at week-ends, in Malaysia, for some states, the week-end is different.

CAMPAIGN PERIOD - from nomination date to election date, again for the Sabah State elections, it is too short - 14 days. 

Nomination day - Sept 12 

Early voting will be on Sept 22.

Voting Day - Sept 26

Campaign period = 13 days, or really 12 and a half days?(since campaign period starts after nominations, and end midnight Sept 25) - FAIR?

- Ballot papers can only be printed after nomination dates, and only thereafter it can be sent to postal voters, many who are studying or working overseas, some in very large countries. Postal services delivery times vary. Naturally, any voter to consider all candidates - including those from parties not in government, and also independents. Now after receipt of ballot voters, many will then have to post back their ballot papers to reach the relevant constituencies before vote counting happens. GE14 - there were so many complaints about ballot papers arriving late to voters. Hence, a more reasonable campaign period should be at least 30 days.

- Short campaign periods of 13 days favour incumbent government party candidates - and maybe some prominent Opposition parties, who may get substancial media coverage all year round > but certainly not smaller parties, and definitely not independent parties > FAIR elections demand a longer campaign period.

- Candidates can only campaign after Nomination day until the day before voting > which means just about 12 and a half days. Can a candidate meet and introduce himself/herself to all the constituents, where there are about 40,000 to over 100,000 in such limited time? 

- Candidates cannot even have 'ceramahs' - public talks without the approval of the police - the application takes time, the approval takes time and then the 'ceramah' - In some constituents, the number of candidates may be large - 6 - 10, and for the voters to even try to attend at least one ceramah of each of the candidate during the short campaign period may be impossible. So voters may have to cast their votes, without a fair opportunity to consider ALL candidates.

- Candidates from 'seasoned' parties may even put in their application for ceramahs before nomination day, or even nomination day - and most likely, police may not permit ceramahs at the same locations on the same day > again the new candidates, especially from the new or smaller parties, and independents are prejudiced.

REMOVE PERMIT REQUIREMENTS DURING CAMPAIGN PERIOD - police, local council, etc > EC has full authority during campaign period, including enforcement. No permits for house to house campaigning, Billboard placements, walk-abouts, handing out materials, printing of materials, ceramahs, talks, etc .... Wonder whether the police and the authorities will be barring people from attending talks/activities  using Covid-19 restrictions during Sabah elections? 

- Too many permit requirements affects independent and smaller party candidates > to much time and resources wasted in just the permit application process - more unfair when  very short campaign periods.

 - In one by-election past, a candidate was stopped from even doing walk-abouts in markets and handing out fliers/pamphlets because he/she did not have the relevant permits. SUCH permit requirements for the walk-abouts and handing out pamphlets should be abolished.

- Even ceramah permits should be handled by the Election Commission - not the police.

- MEDIA is also biased - tendency to cover candidates from just major parties - seldom do we see coverage of independent or smaller party candidates. A Star report - look at Api-Api seat, they mention the PKR Chief and Datuk Yee Moh Chai - but not even the named of the other 7 candidates - FAIR?

Api-Api: Sabah PKR chief Datuk Christina Liew is facing a very tough challenge to retain her seat as she is faced with a nine-cornered fight against her old PBS nemesis Datuk Yee Moh Chai and a sundry list of wannabes.

- Televised debates involving all candidates > not yet a NORM in Malaysia - Why not?

- Election expenditure limits have been set by the law > but have you seen anyone being charged for exceeding this limit in court. Even if someone else organises a dinner where the candidate is invited to 'campaign' - during campaign period, this will be part of the 'election expenditure' of the candidate?

- Use of government resources > still the practice continues - Where is the REFORM promised? Nothing wrong with a sitting Minister going to campaign for a party member - but he must take 'annual leave', and should not even say that the Ministry will do this or that if their candidate is elected >>> Anwar Ibrahim allowed to enter and campaign in military camps - but other candidates could not. 

FREE and FAIR Elections? Far from it?

So many allegations of 'pengundi hantu'(ghost voters) - they sometime turn up with a Malaysian Identity Card proving that they are so and so, and steal the legitimate voter's vote > so many offences here > including the offence of making false Malaysian identity card, etc > I have not heard of anyone who have been charged for this serious offence? Has anyone been charged for making or providing fake ICs? 

Recently, disclosures of MPs assets show that many of them are millionaires - so, are the poor even represented in Parliament and State Legislative Assemblies.

The deposits payable by candidates are simply too HIGH - it is a serious hurdle for poor and middle income even offering themselves as candidates.

When Imposters and makers of false NRICs get away with serious crimes?

The hot seats of Sabah election 2020
Saturday, 12 Sep 2020 9:32 PM MYT

KOTA KINABALU: The 16th Sabah Election on Sept 26 will see a total of 447 candidates from various parties, as well as independents, battling for 73 state seats.

Many multi-cornered fights are on the cards, with Bengkoka seeing the most candidates – a whopping 11 people are vying for the seat.

Here are the seats featuring the big names that will be keenly observed by analysts and pundits:

Api-Api: Sabah PKR chief Datuk Christina Liew is facing a very tough challenge to retain her seat as she is faced with a nine-cornered fight against her old PBS nemesis Datuk Yee Moh Chai and a sundry list of wannabes.

Moyog: Warisan’s Penampang MP Datuk Darell Leiking is on his first foray for a state seat for Warisan. He is caught in a seven-way fight that also includes “friendlies” from PBS and Sabah STAR in this semi-urban Kadazandusun seat that has a history for changing the status quo.

Tambunan: Sabah STAR’s Dr Jeffrey Kitingan won this seat from his brother Tan Sri Joseph Pairin Kitingan, who was the then PBS president. A vote split between PBS and Warisan candidates gave him the edge to win the seat. PBS, though an opposition-friendly party, has fielded Silverius Bruno in the six-cornered contest here.

Paginatan: This seat in Ranau is seeing all Perikatan-friendly parties placing candidates in a nine-cornered fight. Sabah STAR has placed back Datuk Abduidin Madingkir, while PBS has put loyalist Arthur Sen and Barisan’s Umno, Junaidi Sahaht.

Bongowan: Former foreign minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman is leading Parti Cinta Sabah in this election and is caught in a four-cornered fight with Warisan’s incumbent Dr Daud Yusof as well as Barisan-Umno's Ag Syairin Ag Bakar. Both Warisan and Barisan want to put an end on his plans to head the next government.

Usukan: Having lost his Kota Belud parliament seat to an unknown relative in 2018, former federal minister and chief minister Datuk Seri Mohd Salleh Said Keruak is riding the Barisan-Umno ticket in contesting the seat. He is in a three-cornered fight with two little known candidates from Warisan and PCS.

Sungai Sibuga: Warisan is fielding Datuk Armani Mahiruddin, the sister of the Sabah Governor, to take the seat held for 26 years by Tan Sri Musa Aman, who was dropped by Umno. She will be involved in a five-cornered fight for a seat sought by Barisan-Umno, PCS and others.

Kiulu: Upko’s president Datuk Wilfred Madius Tangau is carrying the Warisan Plus flag into the Kadazandusun, Murut and Rungus heartland. All eyes are on Madius to deliver this seat on the foothills of Mount Kinabalu in Tamparuli. The Tuaran MP is up against PBS’s incumbent Datuk Joniston Bangkuai in a six-corner fight where grudges over Madius' move to take Upko out of the Barisan after May 2018 election continue to seethe.

Inanam: The seat lost through the defection of PKR’s Kenny Chua is in the spotlight, as this time round Chua has returned as independent in a 10-way fight that’s also seeing former chief minister Tan Sri Chong Kah Kiat joining the fray via his Liberal Democratic Party.  - Star, 12/9/2020

Permit needed for house-to-house campaigning

PONTIAN: All parties and candidates contesting in the Tanjung Piai Parliamentary By-Election are reminded that house-to-house campaigning must have police permit as they too are considered as a form of campaigning.

Election Commission (EC) Chairman Datuk Azhar Azizan Harun said in addition, the walkabout programme which is also considered as mobile campaigning, must have a clear time frame and location for monitoring purposes.

He said all parties or candidates involved were reminded to comply with all regulations stipulated for campaigning particularly involving permit application.

“Yesterday, a meeting was held between EC officials and Pontian OCPD and his officers to coordinate and clarify issues concerning campaigning permits and regulations especially with regard to the Walkabout Programs held by all candidates or parties contesting in the election.

Azhar said in a statement today that campaign materials which were seditious and provocative in nature and did not have the name and address of the printers would be brought down.

He added that flags that were placed by the roadsides and hampered or posed dangers to the public would be removed.

In the statement, Azhar said the EC and police outlined regulations on the use of party flags as well as campaigning using vehicles.

Azhar said appropriate action would also be taken regarding flags hung on vehicles while campaigning that caused danger to members of the public.

Campaigning vehicles that were installed with flags and loudhailers and moving from one place to another place must apply for campaigning permit from the police.

According to Azhar, the EC would report information concerning statistics on offences as well as statistics on the number of police reports and reports of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) made throughout the campaigning period on Facebook, Twitter and the EC websites everyday throughout the by-election period.

“The EC hopes that all candidates and parties would carry out their campaign in a more mature manner throughout the remaining five days of campaigning so that the Tanjung Piai by-election would proceed without any undesired incidents,” he added.

The EC has fixed Saturday as polling day for the Tanjung Piai by-election which will see a six-cornered fight involving the Pakatan Harapan (PH) candidate Karmaine Sardini, Barisan Nasional (BN) candidate Datuk Seri Dr Wee Jeck Seng, Wendy Subramaniam (Gerakan), and Datuk Dr Badhrulhisham Abdul Aziz from Barisan Jemaah Islamiah (Berjasa) as well as two Independent candidates namely Dr Ang Chuan Lock and Faridah Aryani Abd Ghaffar.

The by-election is held following the death of the incumbent Member of Parliament Datuk Dr Md Farid Md Rafik, 42, on Sept 21 due to heart complication.

In the 14th General Election (GE14) the late Md Farid, who represented PH won with a majority of 524 votes to beat Wee (BN-MCA) and Nordin Othman (PAS). -- Bernama - New Straits Times, 12/11/2019

No comments: