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Pre-Election Observations

By Tuhun Tavakas
Recently in Kota Kinabalu, Datuk Seri Anwar officiated a forum on Native Customary    Rights (NCR) issues and protection of Native Religious Rights in Sabah. Braving  extreme weather conditions late but safe, Datuk Seri Anwar managed to close the forum with an applause. As a seasoned and well versed Election Observer I attended under the auspices of our humble NGO to hear and to see the amount of interest the forum captured. Datuk Seri tactfully delivered key notes on religion and the protection of the religious rights of the Native Christians in Sabah, an issue that until today Peninsular Politicians will not and can not fathom its uniqueness that Bumiputras in Sabah are Christians. These native rights as enshrined under the 20 point Sabah Constitution that are being silently and quickly eroded. To the thumping rounds of cheers in support of  Datuk Seri Anwar’s undertaking that the state’s unique constitution will be protected and reinstated has sparked immense hope especially from the Native Kadazan Dusun Murut Community (KDM) of its preservation.
While it is very clear from BN leaders the likes of Datuk Pandikar Haji Amin and Datuk Lajim Haji Ukin that the government wishes to further demolish and eradicate any rights the state has relegated to a sub servant role. As a media watch, the hypocrisy is unreal that those that wish to move to preserve the Sabah Constitution are barred from making any main stream media statements, but those intent on destroying any last shred of it are allowed free amble in the press. At the closing of the forum Datuk Seri invited the press to ask questions, the main of which comprised questions related to NCR issues, but none interestingly enough were focused on the issue of the Royal Commission of Enquiry (RCI), which in my view is pure window dressing only set up to hoodwink and lull the voters into a false safe sense that the up coming General Elections will be conducted with assurances of “fair play” this time. If a Bull can give Milk then the RCI will supply plenty. I myself wanted to ask Datuk Seri, how he expected to win the General Election in Sabah if both hands are tied behind his back in a stacked against him odds of winning this fight.

But I’m an election observer, not a political observer. The two though different are inter-alia, one must take into account the cause and effect and perspective of the other. With confirmation from local sources “Colonies” of foreign settlers have now encroached recently into interior KDM areas. The weapons of mass deception are there and ready, the ammunition needing and waiting for only for the trigger to be delivered. With the method of issuing false identity cards pre-voting only to be taken away again, this age old ‘perfected’ tactic will be used again to counter KDM (non-Malay) areas to turn the vote. The other is Ballot Box substitution, a little racket that election monitors discovered used in Sabah since the 1995 elections, when a news report exposed the discovery of a dumped ballot box found in a river near Lahad Datu, full of votes. This also confirmed the substitution of ballot boxes was not just confined to Lahad Datu but other areas such as Sandakan, where the place of ‘switching’ was identified as after released from overnight storage at the local Police Station, but en route to the Ballot Counting Hall substituted with that of another box containing ballot slips but not as Election Observers find legally cast by voters and shouldn’t be legally valid and recognized in any election, Federal or State. The evidence of the use of substitute ballot boxes was  too clandestine and well thought out to photograph as where to exchange the boxes in such a short distance from the place of counting. The only thing was Observers managed was to record a single statement of an eye witness.

So that is my open question to Datuk Seri Anwar. With ballot box substitution and vote duplication, the SPR as a ‘vital’ BN component member, how does he expect to win?  The motto “If you can’t win cheat” maybe upheld and enforced by the BN, making it in-surmountable odds, pure Kamikaze if you like fight to win.

I see it as very imperative in order to avoid civil unrest that the UN be allowed to monitor and yes conduct inspections and enforce that there is no more ballot box substitution. If other Commonwealth countries such as Pakistan can allow without fear UN electoral observers to do their job, then similarly SPR officers will be without prejudice allowed to do their job correctly and not as a duty to their political ideology. But it will take many petitions from the people to the UN to get UN participation in Malaysian elections. Justifiably independent inspections and monitoring of the up coming general elections by the UN is the only solution to my knowledge to ending peacefully and amicably these “Bersih” demos. Its what the whole fuss is about. But until that time it will be dirt and more dirty.

Previously as far back as the seventies the existence of IC manufacture and distribution by the NRD in tandem with the SPR even in infant stages started to undermine the rights of Sabahans, eventually bringing the common colloquial now know as “Phantom Voters”. The usual MO of Phantom Voters or sometimes know as the “Phantoms of the Sabah Opera” is applied to mainly Filipino and Indonesian nationals resident in Sabah holding temporary documentation such as the IMM 13 or other documents issued by the state government. Previously it was these groups that counter-balanced by double voting the KDM vote prevalent constituencies, that the BN has always taken as an opposition inclined tendencies, as it threatened to return Sabah in the arms of a Bumiputra Christian led government. This the BN can not and will not tolerate, and it is a question poser to PKR as well. With a Malay led opposition, the Malay votes are now split, now making the underlying job of the SPR a little more ‘challenging’ to over throw, even the Phantoms themselves have come to realize that they are completely expendable and they are dispensed with after voting and the election has been won it’s back to square.

Recalling when the new ‘smart card’ ICs came to Sabah, the first recipients were not Malays nor even Police crews manning check points throughout the state but Filipino Suluks issued direct from the back office of the NRD HQ in Putra Jaya KL. Observers recording statements from the police and locals found the NRD office in Kota Kinabalu had not even been issued with these new “Hot off the Press” ICs. There weren’t even devices available as yet then in Sabah for the Police to read these new cards. In Kota Belud disgruntled locals waited at the NRD office there for their Identity Cards, only to find more Filipinos were exempted to wait in line, with the back room ops of the NRD “Moving Mountains” to issue first the computer chip ICs to foreign residents. Observers knew these ICs must be card reader friendly, tracing the paper trail down to the bottom of Sabah to find a connection between the NCR and “Political Play Mates”  is interesting what “Crops Up”. One lead did clue observers with information that a particular community was privileged to receive the gift of Political Care and attention and bestowed with ICs as their numbers far outstripped the local community.

From Semporna to Tawau, instead of deep pockets of poverty, observers found even deeper areas of colonies of ‘outsiders’ in receipt of these computer chip ICs. Distinguishing outsiders from insiders is now no easy task as the process of transformation is cleverly done and concealed with collusion between State and “Elements inside Federal Government” , that with full utilization of the process by producing en-mass ICs solely for the future use by outsiders in Malaysian elections. Still under observation and question is the report from Sri Tanjung of the NRD processing IC applications, again a colony of outsiders that for years used locally issued documentation under State laws as Migrant Worker status suddenly overnight had local birth certificates. No local court was available to certify and verify these documents were true and legal and not of dubious means duplicated. Once again the magical powers of the NRD at work shows at what lengths people are determined to go to, to hang on to power. Again the back room project will issue these ICs to these “So Deserving” outsiders.  Observers are unable to prevent these outsiders from voting as like the Filipinos earlier, they are now legalized and integrated into the system and have every right to vote even though by local accounts these proud recipients were not even born in Sabah. From where these dubious Birth Certificates have been obtained observers are trying to sift through to the bottom a name to connect all the dots.

Phantom Voters on the other hand use old IC cards issued without the due process of Birth Certificates. Their ICs are duplicates of other existing IC numbers and names, but not the person in possession of the copy. Very risky when given to the wrong hands. Are these though the same ICs the MP for Tenom YB (Now Datuk) Radin Malleh was handed when he was in the Opposition fold, or are they more of the same stock and what the MP had back then was just the tip of the Iceberg in Sabah. But stealing votes from locals no matter how long you’ve been at it, has its toll. Eventually even veteran Phantoms must retire and give up the game, new ‘recipients’ are acquired. Of what exactly is beneficial to them for just one day to use these so important “Life Saving to Some” ID cards is maybe contained in the next observation.

Minor rumblings from the Filipino Tausug Community unhappy with the Federal Government’s promise to them of equal status with the Malays and Ethnic Dusuns, the State Government at election time playing the same tune tying the Tausug Filipinos with religious overtures that they are brethren of the Malays in religion and bonded together, the State government having done a back flip now plays the Violin that although the Muslim Filipinos are of the same faith, that is the line, they are not of native background. The reason locals for well know is that if State Government played too much to pamper the these and other groupings of the Filipino Community and every Tausug, Suluk and other migrant groups became “Overnight Citizens” a fierce back lash would ensue and sour the local Malays not so sold on the same faith when issues of local citizenship rights are at stake.

Observers and locals alike know where the Cesspools of these Migrant workers lay in wait and to which Political organization is expected to utilize the migrant community and at the peak of the election fever cover for them, speak the same dialect as them, promise to localize them into a society that can only tolerate them eking out a living to survive but not take their right to vote, they are what they are primarily Economic Migrants here for work and to accumulate their own fortune then return to their homeland.

Case in point is the squatter colony area of Sepanggar just outside Kota Kinabalu that is a second Pulau Gaya in the making. Claimed ownership and responsibility by “The Back Bone of BN” just as Pulau Gaya is. These places are notorious not for its economic contributions, but the darker shady dealings of drug dealers, thieves, illegal syndicates, a den of the devil some may say. What keeps them there is that no local dares to enter, no local dares to associate, unless there is a connection, which in this example is the colony’s advantage as a large politically usable and easily manipulated Filipino migrant based  community. The Sepanggar “Black Area” colony may  be under the implanted assumption that their existence justifies their means and right to vote to preserve their religious faith from being taken away by the Non-Malays. Not intimidating the Migrant Community to participate in Local Politics but encouraging with emphasis on they have a more valid and sanctioned role in the society, no matter how wrong and deceptive is what is happening.

Observations that the mind set of these migrants even many less than 10 years resident in the State, even less than 3 years, are able to use an IC, at the right time.  Enjoyment of political protection and immunity in the meantime keep them here as a reminder to the local community that whether they vote Government or Opposition, their vote will be not be as reliable and controllable as the migrant’s.

The system of supply and demand ordinarily used for economics where these migratory workers form a major part of the equation are used ‘very conveniently’ to imbalance and disrupt the supply of votes to which political party has the demand and rightful command of the people. They, these phantoms are now becoming wiser and expect more entitlement than just a day’s work stealing peoples’ votes. They want to stay and be accepted by society as having acquired rights too. Monitoring Elections in Sabah is uniquely challenging. From the first Blue ICs to the Bunga Raya ICs, in an effort to curb the further issuing of the old project type ICs. Then when these were infected by the virus of fraudulent IC processing, these new “state of the art” anti-duplicability, anti-phantom ICs rolled out. However clean the NRD may attempt to be, the record stands of its involvement in deception and compliance in the mass production of dubious Identity Cards issued to migrants to alter and corrupt the real voting sway of the local Citizens. With the local imm 13 State issued documents now facing extinction, and with no replacement of this documentation, Observers are watching just as ICs are able to be duplicated and used in the system, these forms now equally as highly valuable and even more simply copied and paste are used as documentation to get new legal ICs. Clean electoral rolls may be, but clean ballot boxes are where it must all start.


  1. Hope the 13th election will be fair and clean.

    1. I feel so angry with the IC project syndicate!

  2. kita tnggu PRU diadakan dan lihat keputusannya.

  3. No more Bersih, if you want fairness, vote for the best.

  4. GE, i can't wait. I hope this time the people vote the best party!

  5. Bila agak-agaknya PRU13 ini dilaksanakan. Kerana kita sendiri melihat masih belum ada tanda-tanda PRU semakin dekat.

  6. Tidak sabar rasanya menunggu PRU13 ini. Pilihlah parti yang mampu mengubah dan membantu kita. Jangan pilih yang menabur janji semata-mata.

  7. PKR ada banyak skandal, baru jaga beberapa negeri saja.

  8. Hopefully there will be a miracle this time where only the good ones will win and the the bad ones will be brought into prosecution


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