Malaysia polls error sparks controversy

News Desk in Petaling Jaya/The Star
Asia News Network

Petaling Jaya (The Star/ANN) - Amending the results of the recent Democratic Action Party (DAP) election because of a supposed error in the tallying of votes has raised widespread controversy, with various sectors convinced that it was done purely to bring in a Malay into the central executive committee.

Barisan Nasional and other leaders were especially sceptical because the blunder the party claimed made was disclosed only 19 days after the December 15 polls following the flak it got for not electing any Malay.

Moreover, they noted that the amendments pushed up Zairil Khir Johari - political secretary to Penang Chief Minister and DAP secretary general Lim Guan Eng - from 39th to 20th position to make him the last elected member of the central executive committee (CEC).

Vincent Wu, who was initially declared to have secured the sixth spot with 1,202 votes, dropped to 26th place because he had actually secured only 669, according to the DAP.

Barisan leaders said the DAP had amended the results under pressure to "prove" that the party was multi-racial.

Kota Belud MP Rahman Dahlan said the coincidence that Zairil was elected into the CEC after the party had another look at the results was "too convenient".

"If DAP did this to please the Malays, then they are sorely mistaken," he said. "The Malays will be further insulted by this action. The party has already insulted the community when none was voted in earlier," he added.

The DAP had said there was an error in the tabulation of votes.

People's Progressive Party president M. Kayveas believed the amended results were a "cover-up".

"Make no mistake. This is an eyewash," he said. "How do you expect them to run this country properly when they can't even handle a simple party election?"

Kedah Gerakan Youth chief Tan Keng Liang tweeted that the DAP had accused the Election Commission of technical failure, but its own system was "rubbish" compared to the EC's.

Asli Centre for Public Policy Studies chairman Ramon Navaratnam said DAP should engage internationally recognised auditors and Information Technology companies to verify its claim that the error was caused by a technical glitch.

"The reported glitch in the computer system should be ascertained, otherwise people will perceive it as an attempt to stitch something wrongly," he said, adding that it would only take a few days for the auditors and IT companies to prepare their reports.

Ramon said the DAP should allow for an open investigation as its integrity, transparency and accountability were at stake.

"It is pertinent for the public to find out the truth from internationally reputable audit and IT companies."

National Council of Professors' Politics, Security and International Affairs cluster head Prof Dr Mohamed Mustafa Ishak asked why DAP did not announce the error within three days of the polls.

"DAP only announced the error long after the polls following criticisms that no Malay had won a CEC seat," Mustafa said.

Former DAP vice-president Tunku Abdul Aziz Tunku Ibrahim said "something was fishy".

"Just when there were a lot of criticisms over no Malays being elected to the CEC, miraculously the results were amended and voila Zairil made it in.

"It is really too good to be true. And, the people are not stupid," he said.

He said the whole procedure was highly suspect.

Tunku Aziz challenged the party to prove that there was no manipulation of results.

He said the DAP had lost its credibility to criticise the EC, as it could not even ensure a free and fair party election.

Former Selangor DAP auditor Tan Tuan Tat wondered if the party's returning officer Pooi Weng Keong was forced to quit.

"Is Pooi being made a scapegoat?" he asked.

He said that there was lack of transparency, competency and accountability in the recent party polls.

Tan said the party should declare the results null and void and call for a fresh election.

Penang Malay Congress president Rahmad Isahak said amending the results long after the polls had concluded could compel disgruntled members to seek legal redress.

Reports from Foong Pek Yee, Mazwin Nik Anis, Sira Habibu, Regina Lee, Christopher Tan, Christina Chin and Kiatisak Chua