Voters warned against posting ballot papers online

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KUCHING: Voters are warned not to take photos of their ballot papers and share it through the Internet as it is a serious offence.

“Voting is confidential. They are not supposed to take photograph and post it online – on Facebook, Twitter or anywhere else,” said State Elections Commission director Datu Takun Sunggah when met by The Borneo Post recently.

“They should not do that. Don’t expose anything which should be confidential.”

He added that this applied to all voters regardless if they were voting at the polling station or voting through post.

Earlier this week, a national daily quoted a senior EC official based in Peninsular Malaysia as saying that taking a picture and posting it online is akin to taking the ballot paper outside the election hall and that the person could be charged under election law.

The EC official was also quoted as saying that a person found guilty of the offence could be jailed up to 2 years, fined RM5,000, or both. Furthermore, that person would be barred from voting or running in elections for the next 5 years.

The state EC director confirmed that the election laws and regulations in Peninsular Malaysia are also applicable in the state and that the same penalties would apply.

However, Takun acknowledged that it would be difficult to stop voters from posting pictures of their ballots online if voters wanted to do so.

On another matter, the state EC director disclosed that it was not against regulations for candidates’ names on the ballot paper to include their honorific titles.

“A candidate can use their official title given to them such as Datuk or Tan Sri. There’s nothing wrong with that,” he said.

“It is [done]at their own request….If they want to have a title, it is no problem as it is allowed.”

He added that candidates can specify how they want their names to appear when they filled in the nomination form as next to the space for name of the candidate, there is a space for names to be printed on the ballot paper.

Meanwhile, Election Commission secretary Datuk Kamaruddin Mohamed Baria said at a press conference in Kuala Lumpur yesterday
the commission had lodged a report at the Putrajaya police headquarters regarding the
13th General Election ballot papers meant for postal voters appearing on several social sites on the Internet.

“We made the report to defend the EC’s reputation and integrity. We will decide on the action to be taken after the police complete their investigation under Section 574 of the Penal Code (Amended) 1997,”

Kamaruddin categorically denied that the EC was the source of the pictures on the sites, saying they had started mailing postal ballots for domestic voters since April 22, while those meant for overseas voters were sent out yesterday.

Those eligible for domestic postal voting are armed forces, police, media and EC personnel on duty.

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