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Thursday, May 19, 2022

Members’ phone numbers manipulated in PKR online voting, group claims


The PKR elections are being carried out in hybrid form, both physical and online voting.

PETALING JAYA: A PKR group in Perak aligned to Rafizi Ramli, who is contesting for the deputy president’s post, has alleged that certain people have been changing the phone numbers of some eligible voters and voting online using the new numbers.

A candidate from the state said these people would offer handouts like rice and groceries to entice the eligible voters to change their phone numbers in the party database with the new SIM cards provided to them and then use the new numbers to vote online.

The SIM cards were apparently disposed of after the voting as the numbers could not be reached when calls were made to check on their authenticity.

“They have been doing this to the elderly members who are not familiar with smartphones. This is disgusting for a party that calls itself Keadilan (justice) and fighting for ‘reformasi’,” he told FMT.

The candidate said they had compiled evidence from members who admitted not knowing the reasons for the change of their phone numbers, and a complaint had been submitted to the PKR election committee head.

He said what was being done was “unbelievable” and unexpected of a party that claimed to be leading the nation back to the right path.

The group provided FMT with several of the questionable phone numbers and they were unreachable.

When contacted, PKR election chief Dr Zaliha Mustafa confirmed receiving a complaint and said the allegation must be backed by evidence for any action to be taken.

“Yes, we have received a complaint on these allegations. We are investigating and hope to get some evidence from the complainant,” she said.

“The online voting, which began early this morning, is generally progressing well. Of course, there are a few issues here and there which we are working to resolve.”

On Monday, Zaliha defended the electoral process for the party elections, currently being held in a hybrid form.

She said the committee had taken steps to minimise any avenues for manipulation or fraud, including doing away with the QR code and using indelible ink.

Members would be able to review and confirm their votes as their ballots were stored online, she said, adding however that “there are no systems that are 100% foolproof”.

Meanwhile, a PKR member has alleged that an individual voted on his behalf in Kangar.

Chua Beng Choon said the individual claimed to be part of the team for Gan Ay Ling, a candidate for the Kangar chief’s post. However, Gan, who is also the Indera Kayangan assemblyman, denied this.

According to an Utusan Malaysia report, Chua lodged a police report, saying he was displeased that some individuals were taking advantage of the situation to vote on behalf of others.

He alleged that he had received a phone call from an individual, who said he wished to demonstrate how to vote online.

Upon meeting the individual, he was asked to provide his electronic device. Shortly after, the individual returned the device, saying Chua’s vote had been cast.

“I am lodging a police report because I am displeased that someone else voted on my behalf, without my consent. I don’t even know which candidate he voted for,” the Malay daily quoted him as saying.

Asked to comment, Gan said although the online voting system was well implemented, it was unfortunate that some people were taking advantage of the process.

She expressed disappointment as it appeared that some party members were willing to cheat and manipulate online votes in favour of certain candidates.

“The rules set by the election committee must be complied with and if a candidate violates the rules, action must be taken,” she said, adding that the committee should take this issue seriously.

Gan is contesting the Kangar PKR chief’s post against incumbent Noor Amin Ahmad and Amar Amran.

Separately, PKR Tambun division chief candidate Mustapa Mansor said he was willing to be investigated over allegations of misappropriating funds and drug abuse.

He said the allegations were baseless and intended to tarnish his image after a video went viral claiming he was involved in criminal activities.

“I deny all the allegations. I am ready to be investigated and will give my full cooperation to the authorities. Personal attacks of this nature should not be happening in PKR, especially during an election,” Sinar Harian quoted him as saying. - FMT

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