How PKR plans to prevent chaos in party election

Azril Annuar
Touching on the online e-voting system, Saifuddin said it was designed by the same vendors who developed the Sfera System the party used to predict election outcomes during the 14th general election. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

SHAH ALAM, July 23 — PKR will take a leaf from the Election Commission’s (EC) book to prevent a repeat of problems that marred the party’s months-long 2014 election, party secretary-general Saifuddin Nasution Ismail said.

Saifuddin told Malay Mail that a new system implemented last week allows party members to key in their MyKad numbers into a special website to check if their names are registered in the system, similar to the EC’s website that allows voters to review their registration status.

“When we did our post-mortem, we found out that the factors that triggered that [was] because people were questioned on their membership status. Some said they registered in (the year) 2000, but suddenly their names were not on the registration.

“That triggers the confusion and upset. This time around because we allow the party members to check their membership status online, like in the Election Commission.

“Just key in your IC number and a member will know where he or she is registered. Hopefully that can reduce the tension,” said Saifuddin at the outskirts of PKR’s election briefing last week.

The 2014 PKR election, which took four months to complete, was plagued with problems of violence and alleged corruption and fraud.

Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim has announced that he will officially run for the PKR presidency, the first time he will contest a post after being the party’s de facto chief since its inception.

When asked whether he has encountered any problems with the system, Saifuddin admitted that there were scenarios in which a party member’s name was not registered or moved to a different branch.

Saifuddin advised any members facing such issues to quickly contact the party headquarters so it can look into the situation.

“If they can provide genuine evidence like receipts or committee member for a branch and their names are printed in the yearbook, we will re-register them,” he explained about members whose names were not registered.

However, Saifuddin did not think it was a serious problem, saying these were minor isolated cases.

Touching on the online e-voting system itself, Saifuddin said it was designed by the same vendors who developed the Sfera System the party used to predict election outcomes during the 14th general election.

The party has also contacted an external auditor, but Saifuddin said he was not at liberty to disclose the names of the auditor and vendor.

He also explained the new processes that his party members will go through to select their latest crop of leaders.

“To get the registration slip they first need to key in their IC number on a machine and then the system will print out this (registration slip) that has a barcode. They then go to the voting machine, scan the barcode and the (e)-ballot paper will appear on the screen.

“They can vote on the candidate list and then click send. That’s all. The system is online. The advantage of this system is that the counting is automated,” Saifuddin said.

Based on the preliminary trials, the voting machine can handle roughly 10 to 12 voters in one hour. In total, PKR has roughly around 500 machines to be used throughout the nine-week election period.

Saifuddin’s worry was about anticipating voter turnout so he can accurately deploy his machines instead of over-deploying or under-deploying them.

“At the moment we want to have around 500 platforms but because the polling is spread out over nine weeks, maybe for the first week when we head to Kedah, Perlis and Penang — Penang has 13 branches, Kedah 15 and Perlis has three. In total, 31 branches.

“So let’s say we have around 300 voters, we can set up 10 platforms for each branch. But for a small branch like Padang Besar, Kangar and Arau, maybe we will just use two or three units.

“That will be the most challenging part, to anticipate voter turnout and prepare on the number of platform,” he said.