Indonesian polls agency halts voting in Malaysia following claims of tampered ballots

Officials prepare ballot boxes and other voting materials in Jakarta April 11, 2019, ahead of presidential and legislative elections. — AFP pic
Officials prepare ballot boxes and other voting materials in Jakarta April 11, 2019, ahead of presidential and legislative elections. — AFP pic

KUALA LUMPUR, April 11 — Indonesia’s Election Supervisory Agency (Bawaslu) has today called for the suspension of the voting process in Malaysia after more than 50 plastic bags filled with marked Indonesian ballot papers were found in Bangi and Kajang.

Indonesia’s online news portal Detik said the tampered ballots were reportedly confirmed by the Election Supervisory Committee (Panwaslu) of Malaysia, which is charged with organising and overseeing voting for Indonesian citizens living in the country.

Bawalsu member Fritz Edward Siregar told Detik that it has made a recommendation about the questionable performance of members of the Overseas Election Committee tasked with overseeing the election voting in other countries to the election monitoring body in Jakarta.

Several other media outlets reported that the total number of marked ballot papers found could be as high as 50,000 from the two locations in Bangi and Kajang.

In Bangi, black plastic bags filled with ballots were found unguarded in a shophouse.

The ballot papers were allegedly marked in favour of Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo and his running mate Ma’aruf Amin as well as for several legislative candidates from parties in their coalition.

Fritz further said that there were suspicions that members who were supposed to oversee the voting did not carry out their duties properly, leading to the tampered ballots.

Early voting for Indonesia’s legislative and presidential polls on April 17 will be carried out by its foreign missions together with an election monitoring committee.

With some 1.5 million Indonesian registered voters here, Malaysia makes up the largest diaspora of the republic’s overseas voters.

Indonesia’s deputy ambassador to Malaysia Krishna KU Hannan had previously said that six voting centres will be opened nationwide on April 14 in Kuala Lumpur, Johor Baru, Pulau Pinang, Kuching, Tawau and Kota Kinabalu.

Meanwhile, a Kajang police spokesperson confirmed a report was lodged and said the matter is currently under investigation by Bukit Aman and a statement will be released soon.

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