We are gravely concerned about the manner in which the Parti Keadilan Rakyat election is being conducted by the Central Election Committee (JPP) and the party secretariat.
Today is the first day of polling where thousands of party members are eligible to vote at the polling centres in several Kedah and Kelantan divisions, which should have begun at 10:00 am. However, we have received numerous reports that members were unable to vote at several divisions this morning and many have left in frustration.
From the information we have received, the following problems were faced by local members at the respective divisions:
1. Kota Bharu, Kelantan: Although the ballot papers for the other positions were available, the polling did not proceed because the ballot papers for the position of Vice Chief of the Women’s Wing were not available.
2. Tumpat, Kelantan: The ballot papers have not arrived as at 12:00 noon and the ballot boxes were also not ready. Thus, many members left for Friday prayers.
3. Langkawi, Kedah: The ballot papers arrived very late and registration of new members is taking place whilst the polls are ongoing, and it seems that some of these new members are being allowed to vote.
4. Alor Setar, Kedah: The ballot papers have not arrived as at 12:00 noon and many members left for Friday prayers without voting.
Three out of the four divisions mentioned above nominated Datuk Zaid Ibrahim for the position of Deputy President, and a sizeable number of members were mobilised to vote for him at the fourth division in Langkawi.
In light of these alarming logistical problems on the very first day of polling, we expect more serious problems ahead; especially considering that there are only 10 divisions polling today and there will be 79 more divisions polling during this weekend.
Although the JPP and party secretariat assured us that the election will be conducted professionally to ensure a free and fair election, the above problems have cast serious doubts on the entire election process.
After discussing these problems with Dr Molly Cheah (the Chairperson of the JPP) this morning, we are now even more disturbed as she claims that she is no longer involved in the management of the election process. Indeed, she said that she has no knowledge of the briefing of the candidates and/or their election agents that was conducted at the eleventh hour last night by the party secretariat. She also said that she regrets the problems faced by voters at the divisions mentioned above but she is unable to do anything about it.
In light of these serious concerns, the party election should be halted immediately and resumed only after all these logistical problems have been remedied. If the JPP and/or the secretariat proceeds without resolving these basic but fundamental issues, the party will lose the trust of its members and also damage its reputation as a party that fights for democracy and justice for all Malaysians.
Moreover, if the Chairperson of the JPP claims that she is no longer in control of the election process, then she should no longer hold on to the position and resign immediately. Similarly, if the party secretariat, which is under the responsibility of the Secretary General, is unable to perform their duties properly, then the responsibility for the conduct of the party election should be entrusted to others who can do the job.
Rashid Azad Khan Muhammad Firdaus Christopher
Election Agent, Zaid Ibrahim Political Aide, Zaid Ibrahim
Candidate for Deputy President Candidate for Deputy President