N.29 Batang Air

29th March Nomination Day

Finally nomination day has come. I consider it to be a learning experience as this is my first time to be part of an election process in a rural constituency. When I was the Padungan Presiding Officer, my area of experience was confined to the activities in the polling station - St. Thomas Secondary School Kuching at that time. The only time I meet my Returning Officer that time would be when we attended the Presiding Officer's training, when we inspected our ballot boxes before polling day, and when we collected our ballot boxes on polling day, finally when we return the ballot boxes and the tally results after polling is over. If there is no election petition we can consider that to be the end of our relationship - something like that. This time in N.29 Batang Air I will get to see the process from A to Z from the nomination process to the polling on 7th April 2009, till the announcing of result. It will be worthwhile as I will be the Returning Officer for one of the Constituencies in Sri Aman Division - by virtue of the Deputy Resident post. Here are the recent nomination activities in pictures (according to the timeline - recorded in the picture properties when I took them) for your consumption - and watch out for my prediction, its certainly another shocker! Something which made me very unhappy.

The Returning Officer in charge has to make sure that the set up at Dewan Sukan Lubok Antu is ready for nomination day - seating arrangements for the candidate, proposer and seconder (No more than three can enter with their espective documents). A special section will also be allocated to the Election Commission chiefs who will be part of the nomination process here today.

When the party candidates, proposer and seconder present their nomination forms to the Returning Officer and his Assistants, it will be strictly by the book and if there are more than one candidates - it will be by queue according to who submits the forms first

Some of the Barisan Nasional supporters and their flags at the Soccer pitch in the Stadium next to the Dewan

The Independent Candidate Mr. Johnny Chuat with his proposer and seconder was also at the Stadium, talking to the media and press

The Parti Keadilan Rakyat supporters section

The Democtratic Action Party (DAP) members who came from outside Lubok Antu (as we met them at the junction when we arrived there in the morning) to join their Parti Keadilan Rakyat members.......can anyone spot the tight jeans?

The sun was already up at this time - tents were prepared for the VIPs accompanying the Parti Keadilan Rakyat candidate, Barisan Nasional candidate and the Independent candidate

The various leaders form the Parti Keadilan Rakyat led by YB Menteri Besar Selangor, Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim met Mr. Jawah Gerang and wishing him luck at the entrance of the nomination centre while waiting for it to open

Mr. Nelson Mujah Girie, the Returning Officer flanked by Mr. Ignatius Ayai (right) and Mr Raduan Alem (left) announcing the Nominations period begins at 9:00 a.m at the Centre. Mr. Jawah was the first to submit his forms and entered the Dewan first with his Proposer and Seconder

The Barisan Nasional candidate Mr. Malcom Mussen Lamoh arrived accompanied by most of the State's Barisan Nasional leaders and additional Barisan supporters. They had marched from the Pintu Gerbang (15 minutes away from the Dewan)

Barisan Nasional Candidate, Mr. Malcom Mussen Lamoh goes into the Nomination Centre with his Proposer and Seconder

The Returning Officer announces that the period for submission of nomination papers are closed (Nominations closed) and that the next hour (10:00 a.m - 11:00 a.m) will be the Objection period

Two nomination forms from the candidates were put up on the notice board for viewing - much to the surprise of the people as there were three candidates inside the Dewan. One of them must have pulled out pulled out of the race.

The Right Honourable Chief Minister talks with the Press

The candidate who pulled out was Mr. Johnny Chuat, who decided not to contest. He threw his support to Parti Keadilan Rakyat and was adorning the PKR flag

A few objection forms had been taken up by the Parti Keadilan Rakyat and submitted to the Returning Officer who evaluated the forms and subject. But smiles from both sides seem to indicate that all was well for the two candidates

The Returning Officer confirms recieving two nomination forms ~ one from Mr. Malcom Mussen of Barisan nasional and the other from Mr. Jawah Gerang of Parti Keadilan Rakyat. It was also announced that the Objection Period was over and though the Returning Officer recieved some objection forms, it was decided that the subjects raised does not warrant rejection of Nomination forms.

The Returning Officer makes the announcement of the BN vs PKR with the candidates present

The two candidates - Mr. Malcom Mussen (Barisan Nasional) and Mr. Jawah Gerang (PKR) poses for the media and press

Leaders from Barisan Nasional waits for their candidate as the announcement is made final

Barisan Nasional candidate Mr. Malcom Mussen Lamoh talks with the media and press after the announcement

Malcom Mussen meets and walk with the Barisan Nasional supporters

Mr. Jawah Gerang gives the 'Reformasi' cry for while he is carried by the Keadilan camp

Mr. Jawah Gerang meets his supporters while the Menteri Besar for Selangor gives a speech of thanks

After that supporters from both side left the Dewan to mark the start of the By-Election race. The Election mood has started it seems as the parties are putting up the campaign billboards for their respective candidates. So far Barisan Nasional is leading with a few Billboards up by noon time.

Pictures of Interest

Parti Keadilan Rakyat VIPs chanting 'Reformasi' led by the Selangor Menteri Besar YB Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim

Barisan Nasional leaders at their espective tents led by the State Barisan Chairman the Right Honourable Chief Minister of Sarawak Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud

Friendly chat between VVIPs of different camps sees two Chief Ministers sitting on the same table

Lubok Antu Town has this festivity feeling as the town is filled with people - the party members from different camps mingling with one another without minding the colour of the flags being carried

The Returning Officer's team pack up their gears and documents and will return once more beginning 5 April 2009 as they have to set up Dewan into a Vote Tally Centre and announce the results

Have Camera will Shoot: MAFREL's (Malaysian Free and Fair Election) Peter John points his camera on his target

Have Camera will Shoot II: YB Tuan Alexander Linggi (Member of Parliament for Kapit) also shows that he too have the skills with those cameras

Election Predictions

Provided that you did not scroll down quickly when I was about to announce my shocker - I have to say this only and that the increase in phone line capacity by Celcom and Maxis - Hotlink) was no cure for the congested lines. What is my analysis and prediction for the upcoming election. I have to apologise and that I mentioned Celcom and Maxis - Hotlink will be the best bet for communication connectivity in Lubok Antu for this next 14 days. Especially when we are informed that the signals for the two telcos and service providers would be enhanced.

Celcom and Maxis - Hotlink did not stand out as being the best in Lubok Antu

The lines for Celcom (I had two Celcom lines on my 2 Sony Ericsson) and the Digi line in my 3 years old NEC phone which is a backup phone. My friend James Joshua who was on Maxis - Hotlink line also gave the thumbs down to Maxis as he was not able to update the ongoing event in his microblog. I wanted to do an hour to hour reporting for my Desmotion too. Technology let us down.

In the end most of my communications outside the Nomination Hall and around Lubok Antu town depended on the Yellow Man.

Did we learn anything from this? Yes, I think we all did. The lessons learnt was never take things for granted. To the parties contesting, this analogy can be used - I had in my last post predicted a strong presence for Celcom and Maxis as the powerpoint screen capture provided by the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission of telcos coverage (Celcom, Maxis and Digi) indicate better coverage. In the end the unexpected happened and everyone was caught by surprise. Like the strong indications claimed by the respective parties be it BN or PKR do not be like Celcom and Maxis. Line connectivity and reliable communication is important for proper coordination during this election process. From the coverage map everyone would have assumed that Digi had poor coverage, but then it was the other way round. Digi worked well on Nomination Day and I have to take back my word that Digi may not be the preferred choice in the next upcoming weeks ahead. Cheers for the Yellow Man.


Pn Hamidah said…
I’m already used to scroll down for the pictures first before I read the writings haha.. so in regards to the telcos coverage and strength, my simple understanding is that and perhaps,( well I could be wrong),the overpopularity and people’s most preferred choice in Celcom and Maxis on that day has generated an extraordinary high volume of traffic which could have constrained the capacity of the network despite the earlier upgrading work. Anyway kudos to Digi too.
Anak Iban! said…
manza wai!! manah amat berita dlm blog nuan tu, rindu sereta gaga ati meda pemansang @ pengawa sebelah menoa din...
wah! Happening!