----- Forwarded Message ----
To: malaysiafreedom@ gmail.com
Sent: Friday, February 22, 2008 12:21:40 PM
Subject: Postal Votes Scandal - Check out Najib and DAP stronghold increase in Postal votes. 50,000 postal votes in Kelantan alone!!!
|Posted by Raja Petra|
|Friday, 22 February 2008|
'Outstation' and 'postal' voters can tip the balance in close contests
By Chow Kum Hor,Correspondent, THE STRAITS TIMES
TWO small groups - 'outstation voters' and 'postal voters' - could make a big difference in some close contests in Malaysia's general election.
A 40-year-old aide to a minister falls into the first of those groups.
She has been going back to Johor Baru to vote since the 1995 general election, although she works in. 'I have an affinity to JB, that's why I did not change my address to enable me to vote in KL,' she said.
Political parties call people like her 'outstation voters'.
As they are usually highly-educated and politically aware but are not partial to one party, outstation voters can 'change the political landscape of the country', said the head of political science at the National University of Malaysia, Professor Mohammad Agus Yusoff.
These voters helped defeat the ruling coalition in Terengganu in 1999 but helped it regain the state in the next election, he said.
Outstation voters number about 50,000 in Kelantan alone, or between 10 and 15 per cent of total voters there. In a state where eight seats were won by less than 100 votes in the last general election, they could once again be kingmakers.
Recognising their importance, the ruling Barisan Nasional last week launched a 'Let's Go Home to Vote' campaign that targeted the Kelantanese.
It set up an operations centre to allow them to check their voting details, and even arranged transportation.
'PAS had won many seats in 2004 with very slim majorities, and I think we could have won the state if we had paid more attention to the voters from outstation,' Umno Youth's Khairy Jamaluddin was quoted as saying by the New Straits Times at the campaign's launch.
Kelantan Umno information chief Md Alwi Che Ahmad keeps a database of voters who work outside his constituency, and meets members of the Ketereh Association ofregularly.
About 4,000 of his 47,000 voters in the Ketereh parliamentary seat are working outside the state, he said.
'They can determine if I win or lose the election,' he told The Straits Times.
Outstation Chinese voters also form a sizeable voting bloc: The Malaysian Chinese Association estimates that they make up about 15 per cent of total voters in seats contested by the party.
Postal votes will also be an important factor, more so because of the longer 13-day campaign period.
In 2004, the Election Commission reported that as many as 67,000 postal ballots were not returned in time, mainly because the eight-day campaign period was so short.
In general, 80 to 90 per cent of postal votes go to the BN. This is a bone of contention for the opposition which claims postal voters are pressured to support the BN, as most are government workers.
Of the 10.9 million votes, more than 200,000 are postal votes from soldiers, policemen and diplomats who cannot leave their jobs to vote at polling stations.
Eight races are close enough for postal voters to make a difference this year.
One of them is Pekan, the constituency of Deputy Premier Najib Razak.
There, 10 per cent of its voters will cast their votes by post after the boundary lines were redrawn in 2003 to include an army camp.
The number of postal votes in the constituency has grown from 500 to 5,000. That could give him a wide safety margin after his narrow 241-vote win in 1999 in the aftermath of the Anwar Ibrahim affair.
Daripada Abu Umarah iaitu al-Bara' bin 'Azib radhiallahu anhuma, katanya: "Kita semua diperintah oleh Rasulullah s.a.w. untuk melakukan tujuh perkara, iaitu meninjau orang sakit, mengikuti janazah, menentasymitkan orang yang bersin, menolong orang yang lemah, membantu orang yang teraniaya, meratakan salam dan melaksanakan sumpah."