Najib denies BN link to phantom voter claims

By Clara Chooi,
Assistant News Editor

KUALA LUMPUR, May 5 — As reports of alleged “phantom voters” continue to stream in across the Internet, Datuk Seri Najib Razak moved to deny Barisan Nasional’s (BN) involvement in the allegations.

The caretaker prime minister (picture), who is leading the ruling pact through its toughest election battle to date, insisted in a Twitter posting here that BN is committed to a fair election.

“The allegations of friendly parties to BN bringing in foreign workers to vote is totally untrue. We are committed to a fair election,” he wrote.

Umno vice-president Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein also backed Najib’s defence, saying on his Twitter account that the allegations were “baseless”.

But despite their denials, netizens are flooding the Internet with videos and photographs of alleged “phantoms” caught by concerned voters at polling centres nationwide.

“First hantu got caught! And he’s from Myanmar!” a netizen Richard See wrote on his Facebook page as a caption to a photograph of a man who had his MyKad checked by monitors at an unidentified polling station.

In another Facebook posting on the “Pakatan Rakyat Election News” page, a video was posted of an alleged foreigner being booed off an unidentified polling station by voters.

Earlier this afternoon, PKR’s Rafizi Ramli lodged a police report along with two voters, alleging “phantoms” registered at their home addresses.

The voters, K. Sivaprakasam, 60, and Seok Leong Yew, 43, claimed that they received letters from BN officials containing names of voters who were allegedly registered to their home addresses.

“When I opened the letter, it contained the voter details of one Chen Yew Fai, whom I don’t even know but is registered to my house address,” Seok told reporters outside the Ampang Jaya police district headquarters here.

Sivaprakasam said his letter contained voter details of two individuals — Lim Kim Lung and How Sai Choo — both of whom were registered to his home in Pandan Indah.

Deputy Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar said yesterday that it is impossible for foreigners to vote in today’s polls and police will act if it happens amid fears of widespread electoral fraud.

He said no police reports have been lodged on phantom voters planning to cast their ballots in Election 2013, adding that additional flights into Peninsular Malaysia at this time are not unusual.

Umno secretary-general Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor admitted last Thursday that voters were being flown into the peninsula from east Malaysia, but stressed that the flights were sponsored by “friends” of BN as part of the party’s “get out the vote” campaign for Election 2013.

Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim has said that over 40,000 dubious voters, including foreigners from Sabah and Sarawak, have been flown in since last week to key states in the peninsula like Selangor and Kuala Lumpur.

Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan, who is the co-chair of polls watchdog Bersih 2.0, said on Friday that it was “treason” to transfer foreigners from east Malaysia to immigration depots to vote in Election 2013, where BN and PR are in a neck-and-neck race to Putrajaya.

The Anything But Umno (ABU) movement has put up banners throughout the peninsula that warn foreigners against voting in Election 2013, saying that they would be handed over to the police if caught.