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Date: 09 Dec 1999
Opposition party alleges "massive cheating" in Malaysian polls
KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 9 (AFP) - An opposition party alleged Thursday it had collected evidence of "massive cheating nationwide" in Malaysia's elections last week. "We are compiling the evidence and will soon be filing election petitions," said Marina Yusoff, who heads an election supervisory committee for the National Justice Party.
Marina alleged the November 29 poll, which returned the National Front coalition to power with more than a two-thirds majority, was not free and fair.
In a statement, she urged the Election Commission to investigate irregularities and "when proven correct" to declare the elections null and void, and call for fresh polls.
Alternatively a royal commission of inquiry should be convened immediately, Marina said.
Among the irregularities were:
-- Some voters names were missing from the electoral list and some were told they had already voted when in fact they had not.
-- In some areas, there were reports that ballot papers had "some sort of wax or resin" over the box for the opposition candidate, making it impossible to mark.
-- "Many voters" were offered money to vote for the National Front. Marine said complaints had been lodged with police.
-- There were "very serious" irregularities with postal votes, with votes for the opposition turning up in wrong areas and being considered spoilt ballots. Rules on the handling of such votes were broken.
-- Some candidates reported that ballot boxes were opened without their representative being present. Opposition representatives were in most cases not given tally sheets signed by the presiding election officer, making it impossible to verify votes cast.
-- Opposition supporters found some ballot papers in rubbish bins behind the counting hall. Marina said complaints to police had been made.
-- Checks on the electoral register supplied by the Election Commission revealed "very serious irregularities."
No one was immediately available to comment on the allegations at the Election Commission.
Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, whose coalition lost ground to the opposition during the polls, has said that anyone with evidence of irregularities could raise it with the courts.
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