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Jakarta Post

KPU to schedule revote in Malaysia, extend polls in Sydney

  • Ghina Ghaliya

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Wed, April 17, 2019   /   11:26 am
KPU to schedule revote in Malaysia, extend polls in Sydney Close inspection: An election official looks for any defects in newly printed ballots on Jan. 20 in Jakarta. The General Elections Commission (KPU) ordered a total of 940 million ballots for the five presidential and legislative elections, which were printed simultaneously by several printing companies. (The Jakarta Post/Dhoni Setiawan)

The General Elections Commission (KPU) has announced that it will schedule a revote in Kuala Lumpur and extend the overseas polls in Sydney. 

The recent discovery of marked ballots in Selangor, Malaysia, led to allegations of vote-rigging, and the large turnout of overseas voters at a polling station in Sydney, Australia, resulted in the polling station having to close before all voters could cast their ballots.

Regarding the case in Malaysia, KPU chairman Arief Budiman said the commission would first determine the number of voters in Kuala Lumpur who had voted through the postal service, which was the group of voters whose ballots were believed to have been compromised.

Earlier on Tuesday, the Elections Supervisory Agency (Bawaslu) recommended that a revote be held in Kuala Lumpur for more than 300,000 voters. Bawaslu head Abhan said the agency also recommended that the KPU invalidate all marked ballots that were sent by mail.

The Bawaslu also asked the KPU to reopen the polling station in Sydney for the thousands of voters who were unable to cast their ballots by 6 p.m. local time on Saturday, when election officials insisted on closing the polling station. 

KPU commissioner Ilham Saputra said the polling station at Sydney Town Hall had to be closed as scheduled, as the committee had rented the venue only until 6 p.m. local time. 

Bawaslu commissioner Fritz Edward Siregar argued that voters who were in the queue should have been allowed to vote even after the polling station had closed.

"We must first confirm with the printing company whether they are able to print [more] ballots. Then the KPU will sort, fold and distribute them by mail [to Sydney]," Arief said on Tuesday evening.

"We will verify the number of voters who were still in the queue [when the polling station closed] because this will determine the number of ballots we must provide," he added.

Bawaslu and KPU officials have questioned seven members of the Overseas Elections Committee (PPLN), three local Bawaslu members, two election monitors and one individual at the Indonesian embassy in Kuala Lumpur in their investigation of the Malaysia case. 

The investigation team also found evidence that certain members of the PPLN Kuala Lumpur had failed to organize the polls according to the regulations, and called on the KPU to dismiss two PPLN staffers: Krishna KU Hannan and Djadjuk Natsir.

“It has been proven that the PPLN Kuala Lumpur failed in carrying out its duty objectively, transparently and professionally in organizing the polls,” said Abhan.

He said the investigation team had visited the locations at which the marked ballots were found: an empty store in Taman Universiti Sungai Tangkas Bangi and a house in Bandar Baru Bangi. The team had also requested access to enter the two locations, but had not received approval from the Royal Malaysian Police. 

The ballots were allegedly marked in favor of the Joko Widodo-Ma’ruf Amin presidential pair and a NasDem legislative candidate. The incumbent's campaign team and NasDem have denied involvement in the alleged vote-rigging. (swd)