Saturday, May 11, 2013

malaysiakini and Improving Malaysia’s Elections Systems(2)

Apart from improving the security during storage of the postal and advanced voting ballot boxes for which it was reported that the police did not allow the scrutiny promised by the EC Chairman, there are other matters that can improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the polling process.

First of all, the EC Chairman should not be making empty promises that are not going to be kept:

Publicly stating that the ballot boxes could be guarded by agents of political parties like even sleeping in the police stations was a mistake unless he really has the authority to order the station chiefs to allow such a facility. One wonders if ballot boxes are safe in police stations when so many remand detainees still get killed in police custody.

Then there was the boast of the indelible ink that would last for “x” days. I only washed dishes twice on polling day and Presto! My finger is as clean as before. No need for any special cleaning liquid. Now he gives the feeble excuse that people are trying to subvert the EC’s credibility. In my mind, the EC lost much of its credibility long before the GE. The EC now claims that after all indelible ink is not the main control of voters as the electoral roll is the main determinant.

I agree with that IF the EC had taken more active steps to clean up the rolls before the elections as they had 4 months to do so with the cooperation of BERSIH and the Selangor state government. Why did they not accept such cooperation if it was incapable of doing so?

It is not rocket science to use computers to throw up lists of suspicious candidates with the following characteristics:

Set 1 Same date of birth(same Mykad)                    Similar name
Set 2 No definite address
Set 3 More than 10 voters at same address
Set 4 Mykad was replaced (can verify with NRD for supporting documents like birth certificate, citizenship documents etc)

Just accepting a Mykad as proof of eligibility to vote is not adequate and if these background reports are done every 6 months on a regular basis, the number of phantoms will disappear.

A Select Parliamentary Committee should have oversight of how the EC conducts activities to verify the existence of such voters. If we have a credible system of checking regularly for phantom voters, the use of indelible can actually be replaced.

I believe indelible ink can cause spoilt votes as the ink can create smudges in the wrong places.

THE POLLING PROCEDURES

First of all, there were many new KTMs appointed by the EC and many did not have adequate training or guidelines about the procedural matters especially with respect to Borang 13 and 14 – the latter is actually required by law to be given to the polling agents after the ballots have been counted and finalized(if a recount is done).

Now there has been a police report about a KTM refusing to issue the Borang 14, an offence that carries a fine and /or jail term. Why would any Elections Officer want to do that? In my own saluran, the KTM offered to allow us to copy his Borang 13 and 14 and overall, he was quite a good person but he was also a newbie, often checking his notes and often communicating with officials outside the room.

Why do KTMs even have to be civil servants?
To me the KTM is an important role in the democratic process and hence the KTM can be any qualified Malaysian who has undergone a test to prove his competence.

The Elections Commission should in face conduct perhaps a week-long course each year and maintain a register of those who pass the practical and theory tests.

I suggest KTMs should provide a performance bond of say RM1000 so that they will be punctual and diligent during the polls. That way we will not have KTMs wasting time by refusing to provide copies of Borangs 13 and 14.

After all, it is quite a serious offence according to the Elections Laws.

PAPERWORK

The Borang 13 and 14 can be upgraded and redesigned as follows:

These forms can be multi-copy with different colours-one for the EC records and three more copies for the candidates.

The following section will be included at the bottom of the form. “I certify that I have received the Borang13(or 14) from the KTM” Signed by: Paca1 Paca2 Paca3 -------------------------- ------------------------------- ---------------------

If the KTM returns the Borang13 and 14 without the signatures of the pacas, it is automatically deemed an Elections offence. 

SPR PRINTOUT ON VOTING CENTRES

I suggest the information that one gets on entering the Mykad details is inadequate. Only the school name is given and that does not provide enough info for a new voter to locate the voting centre. The full address shbe provided plus the GPS information so that no one will need to search for the proper voting centre.

COMPUTERISED VOTING?

I wonder how far are we from the era of digital voting that can solve many of the current complications like double voting by the military, phantom voters and other methods of cheating.
I envisage such a system would have a Mykad reader similar to those used in banks so a fingerprint can be scanned. We can also have a digital camera to record the faces to tracebacks can be done in cases of possible fraud.

However instead of re-inventing the wheel, we can adopt the Brazilian system that has been used since 1996 and the experience has been good according to this article.
We should study the Brazilian model as it appears harder to cheat compared to ballot boxes that fall from the skies!
UNFAIR REPRESENTATION?

Many observers have commented that the EC’s delineation of constituencies creates an unfair representation for the majority of voters. The EC should be ordered to develop a fairer size distribution for Parliamentary seats instead of the obvious evidence of gerrymandering.

Putrajaya is a case in point where about 16,000 civil servants are basically given the same representation as 80,000 voters in an urban constituency – this is a gross injustice!

I suggest parliamentary constituencies be divided as follows:

Urban constituencies 40,000 to 80,000 voters with a spilt after the population increases beyond 80,000

Semi-urban 30,000 to 60,000 splitting after 60,000

Rural 20,000 to 40,000 splitting after 40,000

For Putrajaya, it can be treated as a semi-urban block and merged with another constituency.

How to delineate the constituencies?
A simple method is to use postal codes as the starting pont - if not enough in one area, can use 2 or 3 postal codes.

1 comment:

Angela Navejas said...

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