Discovery of Indonesian ballot papers in Selangor puts damper on polling

Some of the ballot papers found in a shophouse in Bangi, Selangor. (Facebook pic)

PETALING JAYA: Indonesia’s Election Commission is considering a halt in voting for its presidential and legislative elections in Malaysia after more than 20,000 marked ballot papers were reportedly found in Bangi and Kajang.

The Election Supervisory Agency (Bawaslu) was quoted by Indonesia’s Detik news portal as confirming the existence of the tampered ballots, ahead of voting for next week’s polls, in warehouses in Malaysia.

Media reported police and members of the public at these warehouses holding up voting papers they claim were marked in favour of President Joko Widodo and candidates in his coalition.

About 300 plastic bags filled with these ballots were said to have been found in Sungai Tangkas, Bangi, and Taman Kajang Utama.

AP news agency quoted Yaza Azzhara, who heads the Indonesian election monitoring committee for Kuala Lumpur, as telling TVOne that an estimated 10,000-20,000 ballots were found in two locations in Selangor.

She said she and opposition representatives opened some of the voting papers, which were postal ballots, and all had been marked for Widodo and his running mate.

In other cases, they were marked for a Widodo-allied legislative candidate who’s the son of Indonesia’s ambassador to Malaysia.

AP said some of these ballots were in brown bags with official Overseas Electoral Commission padlocks and these hadn’t been marked, she added.

Members of the Election Supervisory Committee told Detik they had received reports over the “questionable” performance of their counterparts tasked with overseeing voting outside of Indonesia.

The committee’s commissioner, Fritz Edward Siregar, told Detik that suspicions have been raised that members of the Overseas Election Committee “had not carried out their duties properly”, which led to the tampered ballots.

The EC is said to be sending officials to investigate after videos on the matter went viral.

Voting for Indonesia’s legislative and presidential polls is on April 17.

Early voting for the one million registered Indonesian voters in Malaysia is this Sunday. Voting papers were sent to Malaysia last week.

A team from Bukit Aman police headquarters is said to be investigating the discovery of the ballot papers.