EC dismisses allegation of bias in Rantau by-election campaign

The Election Commission (EC) today dismissed an allegation that it is biased and only enforces laws against one political party during the campaign period for the Rantau state by-election.

EC chairman Azhar Azizan Harun (picture) said the campaign enforcement authorities received 16 reports of election offences involving the two political parties contesting the by-election.

“They are on eight offences committed by Party A and eight more by Party B, not against Party A only or Party B only. These are the facts. The EC is fair,” he said after monitoring the checking of the ballot boxes and distribution of election equipment to the polls presiding officers at Sekolah Jenis Kebangsaan Cina Bandar Sri Sendayan, which will be used as the vote-tallying centre.

He said that among the 16 offences were those on campaigning without a permit and putting up banners contrary to the rules.

Azhar Azizan said the EC acted on the reports by advising the offenders not to repeat the offences.

He also said that the by-election campaign had gone on smoothly over the past 13 days.

He anticipated that the result of the polls would be announced by 10 pm on polling day tomorrow.

A total of 14 polling stations with 53 polling streams will be made available from 8 am to 5.30 pm tomorrow to enable the voters to elect their representative. Up to 20,793 voters are eligible to cast their ballots tomorrow. Some 96 per cent of the 110 early voters, comprising military and police personnel and their spouses, went to the polls on Tuesday.

The Rantau by-election is a four-cornered contest among anaesthetist Dr S. Streram of Pakatan Harapan (PH); UMNO deputy president and former Negeri Sembilan menteri besar Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan of Barisan Nasional (BN) and two independent candidates, namely R. Malarvizhi, a housewife, and Mohd Nor Yassin, a former lecturer.

It has been necessitated by the Federal Court dismissal of an appeal filed by Mohamad to set aside the Nov 16 Seremban Election Court decision declaring his unopposed victory in the 14th General Election (GE14) null and void.

In GE14, Mohamad was declared the winner of the seat after Dr Streram was prohibited from entering the nomination centre to submit his nomination papers because he did not have a pass issued by the EC. –Bernama