Friday, April 9, 2010

Hulu Selangor by-election: MAFREL admits failure to submit reports

Hulu Selangor by-election: MAFREL admits failure to submit reports

Hulu Selangor by-election: MAFREL admits failure to submit reports
Submitted by pekwan on Thursday, April 8th, 2010
Datuk Seri Dr Mohd Khir ToyoDatuk Zainal Abidin SakomHulu Selangor Parliamentary by-electionLocalMalaysian for Free and Fair Elections (Mafrel)Zaid Ibrahim
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Thursday, April 8th, 2010 12:36:00

PETALING JAYA: Despite admitting that it had failed to submit reports for nine by-elections, election watchdog group Malaysian for Free and Fair Elections (Mafrel) has chosen to be defiant by insisting that its volunteers would be present at the Hulu Selangor by-election.

Responding to a report yesterday quoting Election Commission (EC) deputy chairman Datuk Wira Wan Ahmad Wan Omar as saying that it was dropping Mafrel as its independent observers due to its failure to submit the reports, Mafrel president Syed Ibrahim Syed Noh told The Malay Mail that it had not received official word from the EC.

"I cannot verify his (Wan Ahmad's) statement. It comes as a surprise as we have not even applied for accreditation from the EC," he said. "In fact, we hope to do so by this week."

Syed Ibrahim said even if what Wan Ahmad had said was true, it still would not jeopardise Mafrel’s monitoring of the by-election.

“EC accreditation is only for access to election centres, nomination centres and vote-tallying centres. We don’t need the EC’s blessings to work outside these areas to monitor campaign activities, media reports, material giving cases, incidents of violence, verifying the electoral roll and overall environment assessment,” he said, adding that Mafrel was gathering between 90 and 100 volunteers for the by-election.

On Mafrel's failure to submit reports on the last nine by-elections, starting from Permatang Pauh in 2008, Syed Ibrahim said Mafrel was still trying to overcome its weaknesses.

“Our reporting standard is high because we insist on producing good reports. Whatever it is the data we have collected or photos compiled, these must be recorded in an orderly fashion so that the reports would be useful to anyone reading it,” he said.

“The nine by-elections from Permatang Pauh to Bagan Pinang were held too close to each other. That was very challenging for us as it did not give us much time to process one report properly before having to move on to the next.”

He said it would take two months for Mafrel to produce one report. The EC allows a one-month postelection period to petition should any quarter have grouses with the election and want to file a complaint.

“Mafrel follows the EC’s timeline on this matter so that we can include post-election incidents in our report,” said Syed Ibrahim, adding that the nine reports would be submitted before the next byelection.

Syed Ibrahim said he hoped that the EC would consider Mafrel’s accreditation application. Mafrel had recently come under the spotlight when Selangor Umno deputy liaison committee chief, Datuk Seri Noh Omar, labelled it an “Opposition mouthpiece” for saying Barisan Nasional had broken election rules ahead of the Hulu Selangor by-election on April 25 by allegedly starting campaigning and giving allocations to Hulu Selangor voters.

Noh had claimed that Pakatan Rakyat had also done the same but was not criticised by Mafrel.

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