I am now backed in Kuching after spending 8 days in Batang Ai observing the by-election conducts. And as far as our term of references (which is very limited) is concerned we are more or less done, 3 days before polling.
Why I said we are done, because there is nothing to observe anymore. What happen in the next few days will be of no different. Riggings in this by-election are rampant and sad to say that the words “CLEANS, FAIR & FREE ELECTION does not exist in Batang Ai by-election vocabulary.
Our report and photographs taken during our stint in Batang Ai have been compiled and submitted to our Head Quarters in KL.
MAFREL (Batang Ai) had reached a conclusion that Batang Ai by-election is where politic is at its worst. It’s here that money politics rear its ugly head. By all accounts I dared says that Batang Ai by-election is the dirtiest, most unfair & expensive in Malaysian election history.
We observed that:
1) During nomination day (29/3/09) we felt that the police should not have confisticated PAS flags, only returned after vehement protest from PKR. What puzzled us most was why the police allowed SUPP flags among the BN crowd. Report and photos taken during the incident has been submitted to HQ KL for further action.
2) BN candidate election posters were pestered a day before the nomination date. This is a gross defiance of the by-election conduct. We had taken photographs of those posters at Ng. Mepi longhouse. This was by no mean an isolated case because we found the same in other longhouses.
3) It was common sight to see BN giving away gifts of all sorts to the people in the constituency. We have pictorial evidences to that effect but I don’t think its wise me to disclose them here.
4) Misused of government vehicles (pic below) is very rampant and seem to be an acceptable norm among BN officials. We took photos of not less than 47 SG vehicles either parked near the BN “ceramah” or near their operation rooms since nomination. During the nomination day alone we sighted not less than 120 SG vehicles not far from the nomination centre.
5) Civil servants, Departmental heads, teachers appears to be parts and parcels of BN election machineries. They are being deployed and mobilized to every longhouses and corners of Batang Ai.
6) MAFREL (Batang Ai) hereby confirmed the talks that “Tuai Rumah” or longhouse chief are being “kidnapped” and held hostages at Batang Ai Hilton. Some of those whom I met reveal that they are given RM1,000.00 pocket money during the duration of their stay. Some who chose to go to Kuching for sight seeing are given more. We observed that this is indeed very effective tools deployed by BN politician to entice voters. If not money politics, bribery what then?
7) As expected BN ministers continuously poured in “instant noodle projects and other goodies” virtually to all 121 longhouses in Batang Ai. As far as MAFREL is concerned, this is a daylight bribery. Again we have more than enough evidence to support our claims. It’s now up to HQ to make the necessary discloser.
8) Our monitoring unit reported that BN campaigners have contravened particular section of the by-election Act whereby they placed BN flags on the bridge and other prohibited places.
9) We also received report that BN supporters/campaigners pulling down PKR flags at the entrance of a particular longhouse. At the time of reporting police report has been lodged.
10) By MAFREL (Batang Ai) estimation the cost of this by-election far acceded the allowable amount of RM150K by contending parties.
11) We also reported & recorded scares tactic employed by BN Ministers esp. by Jabu, Masing, Awang Tengah, Awang Asfia, Salang, Entulu , Gramong Juna , Fadillah and few others during their “ceramah”.
12) We had examined and scrutinized the voter lists, found out that 111 years old voter still appear in the electoral roll. We checked with NRD and our trip to a grave yard confirmed that this particular voter died some 30 years ago. We have communicated our findings to the EC and believed that this is by no mean an isolated case.
13) We also received complaints from the longhouse residents that some of the names are missing from the electoral rolls. We are still investigating their claims.
14) Intelligence information received from the ground suggested that there will be more longhouses after the by-election. Reasons: Batang Ai by-election will cause a split among longhouse folks leading to the formation of new residence/longhouse.
15) In 1996 election, Donald Lawan successfully challenged Mong Dagang in the court as a result of practicing money politics. Will the 2009 Batang Ai by-election provides another same scenario of Jawah Gerang Vs. Malcolm Mussen, not only in Batang Ai battle field but also in court battle? NOT impossible if MAFREL (Batang Ai) reports and findings are anything to go by.
16) I must say within our term of references, the 26 Mafrel observers have done a splendid job as an election watch dog despite the numerous hurdles and handicaps
Courtesy from Timorty