Sarawak 10th State Elections
Finally the 10th State Election is over and I am still recovering from the 'checklist' fatigue. There were so many things to do as a Returning Officer. Its not easy being one as seen in this You Tube uploaded by LivefromSarawak blogger - an incident that happened to my fellow Returning Officer at his Final Tally Centre at Miri Indoor Stadium. I pretty much understand why one needs to control the numbers of the different supporters in the final tally centre. One will not be able to expect this sort of behaviour, something alien to us. But I believe this is pretty much expected in the future I guess as the political landscape in the state evolves. Thus there would be no wrong to allow future Sarawak Returning Officers to one day observe the various hot spots around the country should an election be held outside Sarawak. This is to observe and compare the environment around the country and probably get future State Returning Officers more prepared on what to expect. This is better than attending courses held by the Election Commission where we only get to hear another person's perspective in powerpoint slides.
For a while I thought this was somewhere outside Sarawak till I saw a few screaming men and ladies that looked like Sarawakians
Updated: Countings (and Recounting) are all done at the Polling Station [Tempat mengundi] if one care to understand the Election Rules Peraturan 25 (13)(b) Peraturan-Peraturan Pilihan Raya (Perjalanan Pilihan Raya) 1981 which states that "Ulang Kira hanya Di Buat Di Tempat Mengundi/Tempat Mengira Undi Pos jika Majority yang diperolehi oleh Calon Yang Menang adalah 4% atau Kurang". (This time around No Counting is done at the Final Tally Centre)
So with recounting done at the Polling Centres the venue of the Tempat Penjumlahan Undi (Final Tally Centre) would only total up the Final Figure already agreed at the Polling Stations. The Returning Officer at the Final Tally Centre will only recheck, verify and summarise the Final Figure submitted by the Presiding Officers of the Polling Stations through the Borang 13, 14 and 15. These Borangs are filled together with the Election Agents during Vote Counting at the Polling Station (and revised again if recounting is required at the respective Polling Stations). The only thing that's done at the Final Tally Centre is just to display the Score Sheet summarising the total from the various Polling Stations and announce the results. No recounting is done at the Final Tally Centre and the crowd had no excuse to behave like the way they did. Which is why Election Agents (or YB who was present there) should be well versed with the Election rules.
The recent State Election also saw a different level of campaigning via the Internet. Media Units from both party divide sprung up, On Line radio and videos go on the the assault....there were name callings amongst the cyber webmasters and supporters (or troopers) is quite new to most of us. Again being a Returning Officer, I was not able to update myself with the bricks and mud that were flying in Cyberspace. But it is interesting how Sarawak is depicted from some people's perspective. The Free Malaysia Today portal for example has the image below as a launchpad for the recent State Election.
Looking at the image above, I can see how we in Sarawak are seen as. Costume wearing Malaysians, without any proper modern clothes maybe, walking around tHe Spring Shopping complex carrying spears. Our children looks undernourished or something. Really amazing....this after almost fifty years in Malaysia. Anyway I would not mind if someone who looked like Mr. Universe was carrying the spear. If the image was to represent Sarawak, where are the other races that make up the State's population? Are they not part of the State's voters who will decide Sarawak's future? So its pretty sad to see how we Sarawakians are depicted in this image by a portal that names itself as Free Malaysia Today. There may be other portals which I have yet to catch up with as election is over, as I will have more free time to browse the Internet to see other excitements I missed. It will be fun surfing cyberspace wearing some 'cawat' sipping premium coffee at Starbucks and when some cute chicks fly pass by, I'll shoot them with my blowpipe.