5 May 2011
Sarawak Report has obtained photographs of the tampered ballot boxes at the centre of the election controversy in Senadin. During an election which was swamped with tales of bribery and vote-rigging, the shenanigans surrounding this seat in the Miri region nevertheless stood out.
The bemused PKR candidate, Dr Michael Teo, who appeared to be comfortably leading until the last hour or so of the count, at which point the lights in the area suddenly went out and caused a confusion from which the BN/SUPP candidate emerged as the proclaimed winner by 58 seats, is considering whether to legally contest the result.
If he goes ahead and contests, he appears to have numerous grounds for complaint. For example, the postal vote came with a hugely impressive 103% of votes issued! Such statistics further defy the rules of mathematics, because 20 of the postal votes were also unreturned, reports the confused Dr Teo. Tellingly, 1,134 of these votes went to SUPP and only 58 to Teo – just 5% instead of the 20% share of the wider postal vote that went to PKR
The Returning Officer on the night, Chai Ko Het made matters worse with his point blank refusal to allow a re-count, even though the difference in the result was just 0.4%. The rules stipulate that if the difference is 2% or under a re-count should be allowed. Chai Ko Het’s objectivity has been undermined by the fact that he is known to have actively canvassed for the ‘winning’ SUPP party. SUPP workers were also discovered to have been allowed into a number of the voting halls, contrary to the rules, in order to tick off the ID card numbers of rural voters coming in (a crucial part of the transaction in which BN pays for votes, partly up front and partly on proven delivery!).
So, what of the photographs we have posted at the top of the page? These detail the further extraordinary developments that took place on the Monday two days after the election, when, in the middle of the on-going row over the irregularities of the Senadin count, the PKR agent found himself summoned without notice, along with his BN counter-part, to witness the boxes in the presence of a junior returning officer.
The point of the exercise has never been explained and the PKR candidate himself, Dr Teo, was given no information about the action until afterwards! During this highly irregular meeting, which only casts further doubt over the propriety of the conduct of this election, the junior returning officer presented the ballot boxes to the two party agents and invited them to inspect them.
The PKR agent, who luckily had his camera with him, duly recorded a number of glaring irregularities with respect to the ballot boxes, which were confirmed and agreed with by the BN agent and junior returning officer. It was recorded that 8 of the red envelopes of ballot papers that are contained within the plastic ballot boxes, which are themselves then wrapped in yellow plastic, had not been sealed and did not have the required signatures to testify that they had been properly checked.
Furthermore, 4 of the ballot boxes themselves had no seals. Another 2 ballot boxes had their seals stuck in the wrong place so that they could be opened! In one of the boxes the red envelope had been cut and the ballot papers were tumbling out!
As the PKR agent struggled to record and photograph these tell-tale signs of vote rigging, the junior officer then made an astonishing decision. He commanded that all the ballot papers should then be poured out from the boxes, which showed which of the 40 separate polling areas they had been collected from, and tipped into one pile, before being collected up into a single bag to be taken once again into storage!
Why on earth would a junior officer, working under the absent Chai Ko Het, decide to break all the rules about preserving ballot papers and do an extraordinary thing like that?
Well, Dr Teo has surmised to Sarawak Report that it will certainly now be far more difficult to identify what cheating went on where as a result!
Should Dr Teo decide to fight this blatant case of rigging and mal-practice he knows that he faces a corrupted and biased Taib-controlled judiciary, which will be under orders to find against him and cost him a great deal in the process. Sadly, while everyone in Sarawak knows and understands what democracy should entail, they are time and again cheated of it.
Nevertheless, even in the face of such outrages, the largely united opposition did manage to achieve an astonishing 45% of the official vote. That is a lot of people who (despite all the efforts of BN) have shown they are thoroughly fed up with 30 years of Taib’s corruption and half a century of BN rule.