SANDAKAN, SABAH – Parti Warisan Sabah believe they have uncovered what could be a major plot by unscrupulous people to defraud the results of the 14th general elections (GE14) by causing registered voters to be shifted out of their original constituencies and into areas alien to them.
The case of Sani Mohamad, a long-time voter at Batu Sapi, Sandakan, who found that he was mysteriously transferred to a town in Perak, is believed to be just the tip of the iceberg.
If Sani, 62, from Kampung Bakau in Sekong, the State constituency that comes under Batu Sapi, wants to vote in GE14, he will have to make a trip to Malaya – he is now listed as a voter at SJK (Cina) Keow Min in Perak which falls under the Hutan Melintang state seat and the Bagan Datuk parliament seat in Perak.
Sani discovered this anomaly on Sunday when he checked his voting status at the Dewan Hakka here, where Parti Warisan held a gathering with the people of Batu Sapi.
On Tuesday, Warisan treasurer-general Terrence Siambun said the party headquarters had been getting queries by concerned Sabah voters who have been transferred out of their normal voting stations to areas out of the State.
He was speaking when met in Kuala Penyu where he represented party president, Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal at a gathering with the people.
“We are checking with the authorities concerned as we have reason to believe that these are not random cases, but a calculated move by certain people to pad up the electoral rolls in certain constituencies with phantom (fake or ineligible) voters,” Siambun said in a statement.
Aside from the illegal transfers, Sabahans have discovered that family members, (who are studying or working overseas) who have never voted before, or even registered to vote, now have their names recorded in the electoral rolls, and in particular constituencies.
He said reports by affected persons would be lodged with the police as well as the Election Commission, and every effort would be made to prevent the phantom voters from casting their vote in the constituencies concerned.
Siambun said Parti Warisan Sabah would be getting in touch with friendly parties to check out how many Sabahan voters have been transferred out to vote in constituencies in the peninsula.
He said this would be easy as the political partners will be told to look out for MyKad with the digits 12, and a crosscheck will then be done.
According to Siambun, such unscrupulous transferring of voters would deprive Sabahans of a chance to vote in their regular constituency, while the phantom voter would be voting in his/her place in the constituency the names now appear.
“This could be a mere rumour, but I have heard that MyKad with details of Sabahans have been handed out to ineligible people. Only the photo is that of the holder. But there is no harm checking on that rumour,” he added.
Siambun said there were desperate politicians who would do anything to win in the area they were contesting and this was rather unfair.
“This is downright cheating,” Siambun added.
Sani, had been casting his vote at Sekong and Batu Sapi for the last five elections, and on Sunday, out of curiosity he had asked a Wirawati to check his voting status.
To his chagrin, he found that he had been transferred to Perak without his knowledge.
“Why would I do such a thing when I am happy to be voting here. I don’t even now where Bagan Datuk is,” he had said.
The incumbent member of parliament for Bagan Datuk is Dato Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, the caretaker deputy Prime Minister and acting deputy president in Umno.
After he calmed down and was comforted by friends and Warisan Sabah leaders, Sani said he would be lodging a report with the police as well as the Election Commission as he suspected something amiss.
Sani said he had never approached the EC to change his voting address as he had no reason to.
Warisan Sabah leaders said Sani is not the only Sabahan to be affected by this mysterious change of voting place.
They claimed that they had received complaints from voters that they had either been ‘moved’ without their knowledge or that they had found the names of their relatives as voters although they had never registered in the first place and were overseas.