Saturday, September 5, 2009


PAS today called on the Election Commission to allow postal voters to vote like regular constituents during the impending Bagan Pinang by-election in Negeri Sembilan. In announcing that the party would contest the seat, party president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang also voiced doubts over whether the results of the by-election would truly represent the people’s choice, in view of the high number of postal voters in the constituency. This, he said, was why the EC needed to change the postal voting process and clear all doubts over the “cleanliness” of the votes cast during elections.

“I call on the new EC chairman to make some changes in the system and I am not talking about cosmetic changes. “We still doubt postal votes because we know that postal voters like the army and the police are not given a free hand in voting.

“This is why postal votes are always considered unclean votes,” he said after praying with Perak PAS leaders at Surau Al-Ikhlasiah here this evening.

Abdul Hadi said that if the EC revamped the system and allowed postal voters to cast their votes like any other constituent, this would ensure some amount of fairness, transparency and democracy in the voting process.

“We want them (postal voters) to even be given the right to attend political campaigns and ceramahs without being stopped by certain quarters.

“If possible, we want political parties to be allowed to come and keep watch over the postal voting process and we want their votes to be kept truly secret,” he said.

He added that postal voters should not be placed under pressure, be subjected to threats or feel worried and stressed when casting their votes for the candidate that they truly supported.

Abdul Hadi’s concerns stem from the fact that there are over 5,000 postal voters in the Bagan Pinang constituency of Negeri Sembilan.

“This is a very high number. In the previous elections, Barisan Nasional won with over 6,000 votes while our candidate obtained about 4,000 votes.

“Who knows, if not for the postal votes, the margin would have been about 1,000? Or maybe even less?” he said.

Despite this, Abdul Hadi said the party was still confident changes could be made and PAS could emerge victors in the country’s ninth by-election.

“We hope that even though they are voting under stress, we may still win some of the postal votes.

“We will be holding a political meeting this coming Monday to hear a briefing by the Negeri Sembilan PAS. Insyaallah, we will contest the seat,” he said.

The Bagan Pinang assemblyman, BN’s Azman Mohd Noor, passing on Friday, paves the way for the country’s ninth by-election since Election 2008.

In the March 8 elections, he had garnered 6,430 votes over PAS Ramli Ismail’s 4,037, earning him a 2,333 vote-majority win.