The phantom Segamat army camp with 1,051 phantom registered voters is the most recent example of Election Commission’s “strategic manipulation” of the electoral roll to help the UMNO/BN coalition to steal the next election and why Malaysia’s electoral integrity is at the rock-bottom in the world, just above Zimbabwe.
Segamat was the venue for the farce and charade of the padding of 1,051 army voters to Segamat parliamentary constituency to save the MIC President and Health Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. S. Subramaniam who won his seat in the 13th General Election with a slim majority of 1,217 votes.
Together with Johor DAP State Chairman and MP for Kluang, Liew Chin Tong, Johor State Assemblyman for Jementah Tan Chen Choon, State Assemblyman for Mengkibol, Tan Hon Ping, State Assemblyman for Bekok, Lim Eng Guan and State Assemblyman for Tangkak, Ee Chin Li, I had visited the new military camp at Batu Anam at Jalan Pulapol, Segamat early last month and found it was under construction and would not be completed until April next year. Not a single person was staying there.
How have 1,051 army voters and their spouses been registered as new voters at the army site for the 2017 third quarter Supplementary Electoral Roll (RDPT), which was put on display from Oct 25 to Nov 6?
We have heard of phantom voters, but this is the first case of phantom voters in a phantom military camp – and is irrefutable proof of the Election Commission and the UMNO/BN government caught red-handed in trying to “steal” the 14GE by shifting 1,051 army voters to an uncompleted Segamat military camp to save the MIC President and Health Minister in the Segamat parliamentary seat in the next general election.
This is not a case of a one, ten or 50 persons committing the electoral offence of illegally registering as voter in a place which is neither a place of residence or work, or one or two Registering Officers taking in part in electoral scams and committing election offences, but involves the army and the Election Commission in a major illegal conspiracy to pad parliamentary constituencies which UMNO/BN regard as dangerous and could lose in the 14GE with safe army votes – to the extent of over a thousand votes.
How many more thousands voters will be shifted to the Segamat parliamentary constituency in the next quarterly voter-registration exercise ending on 31st December, although the military camp would not be completed or occupied until April next year?
The explanation given by the Deputy Defence Minister Datuk Johari Baharum in Parliament that the military has already started transferring officers to the Segamat army base in Johor although it was not completed yet, and that it was not unusual for army personnel to be stationed in a camp that was in the midst of construction if they were needed for operations there, were just untrue and nonsensical, as the army site was completely empty without any camp, nor were there any “operational” needs except to manipulate the electoral roll.
This was demonstrated by the turning out in full force of the 1,051 army voters (including spouse and kids) in buses for public hearings by the Election Commission into objections of their registration as voters in a phantom army site.
The Election Commission had rejected Johore DAP’s objections to the transfer of of 1,051phantom army voters to the phantom Segamat camp, which is still under construction.
According to the DAP Kulai MP Teo Nie Ching, following the rejection of the objections, the Election Commission (EC) imposed a penalty of RM100 per objected voter, which was later increased to RM150 per person.
This is a gross abuse of power by the Election Commission and the latest proof of its “strategic manipulation” of the electoral roll – and why Malaysia’s electoral integrity plunged to the rock-bottom of the world, just above Zimbabwe.
A recent research project on electoral integrity from May this year revealed that Malaysia ranked 142nd out of 158 assessed countries, one step above Zimbabwe.
According to the data, Malaysia fell under the “very low/failed” category, which is the lowest out of five categories.
“Nearly all other countries in this category have experienced deep social and political instability, like Afghanistan and Zimbabwe, or have single-party systems, like Vietnam, that preclude meaningful electoral competition.
“Neither of these is true for Malaysia, making it a clear outlier in the category,” said political science researcher Kai Ostwald in a 2017 academic paper titled “Malaysia’s Electoral Process: The Methods and Costs of Perpetuating Umno Rule”.
Contrary to these countries with social and political instability, Ostwald said Malaysia has had a well-institutionalised state which provides relative social stability, a high level of human development and robust economic development.
“This developmental success brings Malaysia’s poor electoral integrity into stark contrast and suggests that its deficiencies are the result of deliberate manipulations, rather than a by-product of developmental strife,” he said.