Johor polls: Think-tank counts 25,000 spoilt votes

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There were more than 25,000 spoilt votes recorded during the Johor state election with some intentionally striking out the ballot papers as a sign of protest, a study by think-tank Institut Darul Ehsan (IDE) showed.

In its recent findings, IDE discovered at least three patterns of spoilt vote during the polls last week, including voters not knowing how to vote as well as technical issues.

IDE also discovered more than 1,000 spoilt votes in four seats won by Barisan Nasional and DAP.

“There are multiple reasons why there were more than 25,000 spoilt votes. There are maybe three situations which can be described.

“It is a reflection of protest by the people of Johor, new voters not knowing how to vote properly and the possibility of technical errors, such as ink issues,” the institute said, adding that at least three seats had fewer than 300 spoilt votes: Endau (BN), Bukit Naning (BN) and Bentayan (DAP).

Najjua Zulkefli/TMI

Meanwhile, the four seats where more than 1,000 spoilt votes were discovered were: Johor Jaya (DAP), Tiram (BN), Kota Iskandar (BN) and Permas (BN).

IDE also said the number of spoilt votes in at least one constituency exceeded the winning majority.

“In Bukit Pasir for example, Mohamad Fazli from BN won with 6,048 votes – defeating PH, PN, Pejuang and an independent – with a majority of 198 votes.

“In this constituency, there were 381 spoilt votes, higher than the winning majority. The same thing happened in Bukit Batu, a seat won by PH with a 137 majority. In Bukit Batu, as many as 624 spoilt votes were discovered,” IDE said.

45% of voters chose not to vote

Meanwhile, in the polls last week, 45% of eligible voters in Johor did not turn up to cast their ballots.

IDE said the Election Commission (EC) and stakeholders must study the reason behind the low voter turnout.

“Only 54% of Johor folk came out to vote last Saturday. A high turnout is important in measuring the strength of democracy, while a low turnout is often linked to voters’ distrust in the ongoing political scenario.

“A study needs to be conducted. Did the voters stay in because of protest, bored with local politics, unaware of the polls or were they afraid of Covid-19?

“Malaysia needs an awareness of democracy. Electoral process shouldn’t be limited to management and technicalities of an election. Voters should be taught to better understand the process and their responsibility as a citizen,” IDE said.

BN won 40 out of the 56 seats in Johor, DAP campaigning under the PH banner claimed 11 seats and PKR one. Notably, PKR dumped its PH allies to campaign under its own logo.

Muhyiddin Yassin’s Perikatan Nasional (PN) won three seats, with the former prime minister calling his alliance “underdogs”. Muda, which co-operated with PH, won one seat.

None of the other new parties, including Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s Pejuang and PKR splinter Parti Bangsa Malaysia, won any seats. All these candidates lost their deposits.

There were 2.59 million voters registered for these polls, including adults from the age of 18 and new voters under the automatic voter registration system. – TMI