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Calls for Indonesia's envoy to Malaysia to be dismissed amid accusations of election fraud

Calls for Indonesia's envoy to Malaysia to be dismissed amid accusations of election fraud

An official prepares ballot boxes and other voting materials in Jakarta ahead of the elections. (Photo: AFP/Bay Ismoyo)

JAKARTA: There have been calls to dismiss Indonesia's envoy to Malaysia over alleged election fraud, after thousands of marked voting papers for next week’s presidential polls were said to have been found in Selangor.

A video, believed to have documented the discovery of marked ballots in favour of incumbent President Joko Widodo - Jokowi - and his running mate Ma’ruf Amin, has gone viral. 

Indonesians in Malaysia are scheduled to cast their votes on Sunday (Apr 14).

READ: Indonesian presidential hopefuls court workers' votes in Malaysia 

Mr Jokowi's rival camp has urged the president to immediately revoke Ambassador Rusdi Kirana’s credientials, while the president's supporters said the incident may have been an attempt to delegitimise the election process.

Mr Ferry Mursyidan Baldan, the director of volunteers on the National Committee to elect Mr Prabowo Subianto and Mr Sandiaga Uno, said the president should sack the diplomat, or at least recall him until the election ends. This will allow the election to be carried out with integrity and fairness, he said.

Meanwhile, the committee’s foreign affairs director Irawan Ronodipuro called the alleged vote-rigging “embarrassing” and “despicable”, adding that the incident has defamed Indonesia on an international level.

“How can an ambassador be part of the election team in this election? It has breached the code of ethics and violated the ambassador’s primary role and function. This act has defamed the country,” he said in a statement on Thursday.

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Close to a million of registered Indonesian voters will cast their votes in 255 polling stations in six locations in Peninsula Malaysia, according to Jakarta Post.

The Kuala Lumpur office of Elections Supervisory Agency (BAWASLU) said in a statement that the ballots were found in an empty store in Taman Universiti Sungai Tangkas in Bangi, and a house in Bandar Baru Bangi.

Its head of office in Malaysia Yaza Azzahara said about 40,000 to 50,000 marked ballots were found.

BAWASLU commissioner Fritz Edward Siregar said the agency has written to the General Elections Commission (KPU) to postpone the voting process in Malaysia until the issue is addressed.

The commission has sent a team to Malaysia to investigate the incident.

"This concerns a very sensitive issue and since it happened in another country, we're doing a very careful investigation," said KPU chief Arief Budiman.

On Friday, two police reports have been lodged in Malaysia over the discovery of the Indonesian ballot papers, according to local media.


Meanwhile, the National Democrat Party (NASDEM), which is under Mr Jokowi's coalition, has questioned the authenticity of the video. 

NASDEM's head of media and public communication, Mr Willy Aditya pointed out several "oddities" in the video such as the chanced discovery of the marked ballots in an empty building outside the jurisdiction of the embassy. 

"It is very likely that the incident in Malaysia is full of political interest to delegitimise the election and election commission by those who are afraid to lose by saying that the election is rigged," he said in a statement on Thursday.

“This fact goes in line with polling by various agencies which shows that Prabowo-Sandi has been defeated by Jokowi-Ma’ruf,” he added.

Recent polls suggest that the president has a double-digit lead over his challenger.

Mr Willy called for the voting process in Malaysia to be postponed if the case is not solved in time, and urged the election authorities and the police to investigate the case to determine if it was genuine or fabricated.

Source: CNA/tx(aw)


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