Bagan Pinang By-Election
Rodziah Ismail is Chief of the Wanita KEADILAN Election Bureau.
The matter of non-transparency of postal voting which numbers more than 4000 votes or more than33% of Bagan Pinang total votes is a critical matter.
The present rule and law regarding posting voting is not protecting voters unanimous identity. It is such a shame that Malaysia, considered a more developed and refined country lags far behind from the third world countries like Bangladesh which has no postal votes, with about 60 million registered voters.
Bagan Pinang by-election: Call for transparency in postal voting process
KUALA LUMPUR: As the opposition will harp on postal votes in the Bagan Pinang state by-election, the Election Commission (EC) must strive for transparency in the voting process, said a political analyst.
Prof Dr Mohamad Agus Yusoff of Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia said the EC must convince voters that the process would be fair and impartial as postal votes accounted for 33.7 per cent of 13,644 votes in the constituency.
He said the opposition would create a perception among voters that the postal votes would be manipulated by Barisan Nasional (BN).
“The EC must take the allegation seriously as the people will make the judgement based on their perception,” he told Bernama.
PAS Youth today urged the government to allow the party to campaign in the army camps in the constituency, alleging that the BN had the unfair advantage by campaigning through the Defence Ministry.
“Whenever a constituency has a sizeable number of postal votes, the opposition will claim that the ‘government’ will win the seats because of postal votes from the police and the armed forces or phantom votes.
“On the other hand, if the opposition wrested the seats, postal and phantom votes will no longer be an issue,” he said.
He said other issues like the Kampung Buah Pala and cow’s head protests, and the death of political aide Teoh Beng Hock would also influence voters to a certain extend.
Prof Dr Ahmad Atory Hussein of Universiti Sains Malaysia said Bagan Pinang voters would be influenced by the quality of the candidates.
“They will gauge the quality of the BN and PAS candidates before making up their mind,” he said.
The EC fixed Saturday Oct 3 as nomination day for the by-election and Sunday Oct 11 for polling.
The by-election is forced by the death of assemblyman Azman Mohd Noor of the BN (Umno) on Sept 4.
Bagan Pinang has 13,664 registered voters, including 4,604 postal voters, comprising 8,577 Malays (62.77%), 2,834 Indians (20.74%), 1,498 (10.96%) Chinese and 755 others (5.54%). The number of postal votes is 4,604. – BERNAMA
September 14, 2009
By Sim Kwang Yang
The Bagan Pinang by-election will surely be won by UMNO, and give them a reprieve from the long record of seven losses in West Malaysia in the past year and six months.
Bagan Pinang is quite a mixed seat, with nearly 70% Malay votes, 10.5 % Chinese votes, and 19.9% Indian votes. By right, it should be a good seat for Pakatan Rakyat to win handsomely.
But there are 5000 postal votes in Bagan Pinang, and we all know about postal votes.
When I used to contest many elections long ago, I would be visited in my office by some uniformed personnel still wearing their uniforms. They told me that they have been offered RM100 per vote by my BN opponent, but they would happily vote for me for RM30 only.
I would as a habit asked them to take the RM100 from BN, but I did not report them. That whole system of postal voting is so corrupt that there is no point catching a few small fish.
One of the things we should pray for is that when the Pakatan Rakyat takes over government at the federal level, they will initiate major reform to our electoral laws, including the ones on postal voting.
All I can expect is for the Pakatan Rakyat candidate to slash down the BN majority, and we can call it a victory. The PR share of Chinese votes should go up given the rising fortune of the DAP, and there should be more Indian support in the wake of the cow head incident.
In the March 8 general election last year, the UMNO candidate Azman Mohd Noor got 6,430 votes, while PAS candidate Ramli Ismail got 4,097, in a state constituency with 14,192 voters.
But it is too early to tell yet. UMNO may again shoot themselves on the foot by picking the wrong candidate, as in Permatang Pasir in Penang, where they fielded a discredited debarred lawyer as their candidate.
Already, the Teluk Kemang UMNO Division has unanimously nominated Tan Sri Isa Samad as their candidate.
Isa Samad is the former Menteri Besar of Negeri Sembilan (1982 to 2004), before he was elevated to federal politics. Then he was found guilty of money politics during party election by the UMNO disciplinary committee. He was suspended from UMNO membership for six years, but the sentence was reduced to three years. He was never charged by the ACA, naturally.
One factor to UMNO’s advantage is that they seem quite united in Negeri Sembilan. But the choice of Isa Samad will send out the message to the world that UMNO is indeed short of new talents, to the extent that they have to field a 61 year old tainted veteran to represent the party.
It will project to the world that UMNO is very much the old corrupt arrogant UMNO ruled by warlords, and not the new invigorated UMNO that Najib is trying to market to voters.
If he becomes the UMNO candidate in the coming Bagan Pinang by-election, then there might be a slim chance for a slim PR victory. After all, it is a matter of turning around 1200 votes won last by UMNO. The PR people are sure to concentrate on his tainted past, as they did in Permatang Pasir.
A win by UMNO is no big deal, because Bagan Pinang is considered an UMNO stronghold. If UMNO wins big, then people will say it is money politics at work with the 5000 postal voters.
But if the PAS candidate wins even by a slim margin against all odds, it will be a big deal. It will show that the PM’s new leadership has not turned back the rising tide of support for the PR coalition across the country. With MCA and MIC in divisive tatters, the fortune of UMNO in future will look bleak indeed.
In the Negeri Sembilan state assembly, there are 21 BN reps and 15 PR reps. If the Bagan Pinang seat falls into PR hands in the coming by-election, BN will be reduced to 20 seats and PR increased to 16 seats.
There have been suggestions on the Internet that if that happens, it will take only three defections from BN for PR to come to power. Personally, I do not like parties coming to power through defections. But the narrow margin is a good basis to work towards a PR majority in Negeri Sembilan in the next general election.
Then, you have to ask: where would there be the next by-election: Port Klang?