BEAUFORT: The Election Commission (EC) has given its assurance that the video cameras to be installed in all 68 polling streams for the Kimanis by-election will not interfere with the secrecy of ballots.
EC chairman Datuk Azhar Azizan Harun said the recorded clips were meant only for the commission’s use and would not be distributed.
“I want to give an assurance that the ballots' secrecy will not be compromised by such recordings.
“The video cameras will be angled in a way that the voters' secrecy is not compromised at all times.
“The proceedings are recorded only for the EC's use and will not be distributed to simply anyone. If there are claims of misconduct, phantom voters or overlapping voters, we can refer back to these video recordings.
Azhar said he hoped Umno would understand this as the EC would not do anything that was against the law.
He told reporters this on Friday (Jan 17) after inspecting the preparation for voting day at the Dewan Datuk Sri Panglima Mohd Dun Banir, the centre for vote-counting for Kimanis.
Azhar's statement was in response to Sabah Umno Youth's call for EC to cancel plans to install video cameras, saying it was an act to create fear among voters and force them to vote for the ruling government.
Azhar said there will be 650 election workers on duty, with voting starting at 7.30am and ending at 5pm.
“The by-election results are expected latest by 10pm. We will air unofficial results from time to time after voting period ends.
"I also ask supporters to stop campaigning by midnight, including in the virtual world on social media, ” he added.
On election offences recorded during the by-election campaigning so far, Azhar said 24 police reports were made by related parties and four election offences were recorded by PP-KPR (Pasukan Penguatkuasa Kempen Pilihanraya).
“These four recorded are common offences involving banners and election materials. In general, there were no serious offences, ” he said.
Azhar said many improvements have been made by the commission following 10 by-elections, including adding more voting streams to ease voters and reduce time of waiting.
“The ballpoint pen size used are larger, and there are now live-feeds (via EC Facebook page) for transparency purposes in six phases of the election, starting from nomination day until the results are announced.
“For transparency purposes, the key for the lock-up where early votes are placed is being put inside a proper sealed envelope signed by election agents, so there should not be any accusations that some one came to use the key and put new ballots in.
“We will introduce new initiatives from time to time to improve election transparency and to ensure better voting experience for voters, ” he added.