Cheating and buying in Baram election

Cheating and buying in Baram election

The ruling Malaysian party, Barisan Nasional (BN), has resorted to illegal methods to win the seat in Baram during the Malaysian General Election in May 2013. BN couldn’t afford to lose this seat. They rely on a strong man in Baram to force through the highly unpopular Baram Mega-dam – a dam meant to flood over 400km2 and displace 20,000 indigenous people.

The official results of the election show that Anyi Ngau, the BN candidate, won with 9,182 votes, only 194 votes more than the second positioned candidate, Roland Engan of the opposition, who received 8,988 votes. Several reports before and during the elections already indicated abuses by the BN candidate and the government agencies supervising the polls. Now, a petition by opposition candidate Roland Engan reveals detailed information on the methods BN used to cheat in Baram.

At the date of polling in Baram, a secret order was issued to close the polling stations at 11am in Baram although people in urban areas were allowed to vote until 5pm. People travelling far distances to make use of their right to vote were still queuing up for voting when the agents shut down the polling stations. The information on the opening hours was only published inside the polling stations.

Furthermore, polling agents of the opposition were refused to check the so-called form 14, which records the results from a specific polling station before they are sent out to the central count. The advance votes were opened on the day of the polls before the arranged time, at a moment where no opposition polling agents were there for supervision.

Finally, Roland Engan’s petition confirms what everyone in Sarawak already knew: people who vote for BN get cash. People from the village of Long Jeeh, for example, received RM100, if they voted for the BN candidate.

The government of Sarawak under Chief Minister Taib is desperately defending its controversial Baram Dam project. On August 1st, the judges will rule on Roland Engan’s petition. Let’s hope that they will keep up the rule of law against vast economic interests in large-scale projects like the Baram Dam and declare the election in Baram void.


Large dams can only serve as last resort, acknowledged the Malaysian Ministry of the Environment.




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