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Thursday, October 12th. 2000

Almost 100% of phantoms voter were deleted from the Sungai Siput Electoral Roll on the first day of Inquiry. Parti Sosialis Malaysia’s (PSM) mission to clean up the phantom-infested Sungai Siput electoral roll and uphold democracy got off to a headstart on the first day of inquiry. Today, 42 out of the 44 phanthom voters called up for the Public inquiry were kicked out of the roll.

Though that was the end result of the first day, it did not come easy. At the start of the morning’s proceedings, the PSM had to firmly insist the Election (Registration of Voters) Regulations clearly allows the presence of a representative together with the objector during the inquiry. After some arguments, PSM views was accepted.

The inquiry into the objections against 45 voters on the Sg Siput electoral roll lodged by 4 objectors was conducted by the Deputy Director of the Election Commision, Perak, En Shahidan, aided by the Legal Advisor of the National Election Commission, Pn Badariah, the Deputy Secretary of the National Election Commision, Pn Hajah Patimah and staff of the Perak Election Commision.

PSMs computer analyses of the electoral list, witness statements, statutory declarations and ground surveys were tendered as evidence to the Election Commission. Decisions were made at the end of each inquiry and the objectors were promtly given typed responses listing the names that were dropped or retained.

Perhaps the only interesting encounter was, a pastor from the Word of Life Church in Ipoh who refused to repent and instead argued religiously why his name should not be struck out. Although he admitted that he has bought a house in Ipoh where he has lived with his family for the past 10 years, he claimed that on account of the fact that he visits the Word of Life Church in Sungai Siput twice a week, and in consideration that he might become the resident pastor in Sg Siput in the future, his name should not be removed! The Election Commision almost accepted this ludicrous argument, saying he has “constructive residence” in Sungai Siput but Dr Kumar, the PSM candidate for Sungai Siput, who sat as the representative for objector and party member Agastin, strongly objected saying that the PSM would appeal if the Commision accepted the pastor’s argument. The Commision then instructed the pastor to reappear tomorrow with witnesses and proof of his residence.

Inquiries will continue to be held tomorrow, Saturday and Monday (16/10/00). A total of 402 names have been objected to. This figure is a mere tip of the iceberg wih the total number of phantom voters numbering in the region of 6000. But it is a start, and the PSM will continue to work for an electoral process that is fair and free of intimidation and money politics.

After the end of the first day of inquiry today, Samy Vellu will go home knowing he have less voters now.