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Sunday March 2, 2008

Sibu postal balloting deferred


SIBU: The postal balloting for the army and police personnel in the Sibu parliamentary seat has been postponed following the discovery of a double registration of postal voters in the electoral roll. 

A total of 2,618 postal ballots (2,050 for the army and 568 for the police) were supposed to be released to the respective officers at the Resident’s Office yesterday for postal balloting to take place. 

Agents for DAP's Richard Wong Ho Leng found that the electoral roll contained 13 duplicate names of postal voters.  

Air-flown: EC officer Ahmad Zamri Rabaiee (left) and Mohd Firdaus Ahmad Malik (red shirt) loading ballot papers into the plane in Kuching to be flown to the rural areas for the 16,354 postal votes for army personnel and policemen in Sarawak.
However, Wong said a check by the Election Commission on its computer showed there were only 10 double registrations for the constituency – voters with slightly different names but with the same identity card numbers who registered on different days. 

An SUPP spokesman here confirmed that postal voting did not take place yesterday. 

Wong, who is also DAP state chairman, said the EC had postponed the release of the postal ballots as a result.  

The police personnel will only get the ballot papers on Tuesday and the army on Thursday. 

“We cannot allow any irregularities. Every vote is sacred,” he added. 

Wong is facing Barisan Nasional’s incumbent Robert Lau Hoi Chew and Parti Keadilan Rakyat’s Robert Lim Chin Chuang in the Chinese-majority seat with 53,679 voters. 

In Putrajaya, EC secretary Datuk Kamaruzaman Mohd Noor said that ballot papers were printed by Feb 28 and had been sent out to district police stations nationwide for home voters and to Wisma Putra for postal voters overseas. 

First one: EC personnel Sabariah Rashid and Mohd Yassin Musa preparing the ballot boxes and sacks to be used for the first time. There will be 10,523 postal votes cast today for the Tangga Batu parliamentary constituency in Malacca.
He said the police had the papers under lock and key and would pass them to the respective returning officers (RO) a day or two before polling day for them to be checked and verified. 

The ROs would then distribute the papers to all polling centres, he added. 

“Ballot papers for overseas voters will be sent by the designated RO to Wisma Putra which will then be responsible for sending them to our foreign missions,” Kamaruzaman said.  

In Ipoh, the RO for the Ipoh Barat parliamentary constituency, Zaidul Bakri Abdul Mutalib, said that about 2,200 postal ballot papers had been distributed to the army and police personnel, and overseas voters who could not return home to cast their votes. 

In Malacca, an estimated 10,523 army and police personal in the Tangga Batu parliamentary constituency will cast their postal votes from today.  

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