A political activist said he has visual and documented evidence to prove that rampant vote-buying in the recent Sarawak polls was a well-oiled plot from the very top.
BK Ong, who was deported from Kuching last Tuesday, claimed he has the evidence which revealed cheques and vouchers to voters were issued from the Chief Minister’s Office.
“The evidence is strong enough to declare Sarawak polls null and void,” said Ong, a coordinator of the Malaysian Election Observers Network (MEO-Net).
Ong claimed that BN candidates were the main culprits in buying votes with monetary payments to secure ‘default’ victories.
He said he had the evidence where voters in rural long houses were paid RM50 to RM100 each before polling day and another RM400 to RM500 each after.
“We have taped confessions from voters of receiving the money from candidates. We also have cheques and payment vouchers to prove our case,” said Ong.
He has already submitted the evidence to the Election Commission to back his claims on vote-buying.
MEO-Net is independent election watchdog formed in 2009 to coordinate civil society work on voter and democracy education, election observation and voter registration.
Ong was deported on May 24 from Kuching by Sarawak immigration authorities. No reasons were given.
Ong, who had been frequenting Sarawak without any difficulties, was stopped by immigration officers at the Bengoh Dam security post last Tuesday morning.
He was in Sarawak to expose what the group alleged were infringements and malpractices in the recent state election.
Mockery of democratic process
Ong has now engaged a Sarawak-based lawyer to sue the state immigration authorities for deporting him.
“I was not given any valid written reason for the deportation. It was a clear violation of my citizenry rights,” Ong told press conference in his office here last night.
He also slammed Sarawak civil servants for defying a civil service order that prohibited them from joining BN politicians in their election campaign.
He said throughout the 10-day campaign period, civil servants, including state secretary Mohamad Morshidi Abdul Ghani were seen together with BN politicians.
The state’s polling day was on April 16, while nomination day was on April 6. PBB-helmed Sarawak BN retained the state government with 55 seats, while the opposition got 16 seats.
Ong said he had a copy of an order from the public service department issuing directives to all civil servants in Sarawak not to be seen involved in the election campaign.
Even Election Commission chairman Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof had issued similar directives during a closed door meeting with civil servants in the run up to the polls.
“However, the state secretary and district officers were seen together with BN candidates. The district officers were among those selected as returning officers for the election.
“They have clearly defied the order and acted unprofessionally. This has raised suspicions of possible bias, making a mockery of the democratic process,” said Ong.
He also said the media should have played a pro-active role in exposing the involvement of civil servants and rampant vote-buying during the campaign.
“If only the media had consistently highlighted the issue, the Sarawak polls could have been much fairer and cleaner,” he said.