Thursday 9 May 2013

Lembah Pantai - by Hann Sze

my account on Lembah Pantai .

by Hann Sze (Notes) on Tuesday, 7 May 2013 at 00:16
My name is Johann Sze and i had the privilege of serving as a polling agent for none other than Nurul Izzah Anwar. This is my account on what happened on the 5th of May in the Lembah Pantai constituency.

I started my shift at Sekolah Menengah Bukit Bandaraya at around 1pm on 5th May 2013. It was quite a quiet shift for me as majority of the voters came in the morning. I must give credit to the SPR team from my school, led by the principal herself, who were very helpful to both the voters and polling agents. Many rushed out with umbrellas and wheelchairs to guide and shield the voters from the rain. The only exciting event during my shift was when Dato' Raja Nong Chik and his wife came to cast their vote at 4pm. Much to their dismay, they were greeted only by the Press as most voters had already fulfilled their responsibility early in the day. 
RNC and wife arriving at 4pm

Throughout my whole shift, there were about 25 people standing around the PKR tent, waving the party flag and cheering at each car that passed by. In return, they were greeted with various honk patterns, making the whole event a very lively one. The BN tent was about 20 meters away and both group of supporters were at their best behavior. There was another group of people, about 30 or so from PKR and Bersih, waited outside the school gate to protect the school from any "phantom" or "unauthorized" voters. I have the highest respect for all of them as they stood their ground despite the rain and heat. 

The school gate was closed at 5pm with loud cheers from the supporters waiting outside. I was still waiting inside the school for the Counting Agents (CA) to do their thing. At about 6pm, we received an SMS from the first Saluran giving Nurul the lead, 142 - 89. We did not hesitate and announced the results to the supporters waiting outside. It was such a beautiful sight, seeing people from all races celebrating together with loud cheers as the results of each saluran was read out. In all 6 Salurans from Bukit Bandaraya, Nurul led comfortably, 1933 to 708.
SPR transfering the balot boxes

Along with the SPR and supporters, we convoyed our way to the central tallying centre (cant rmb the school's name). Despite the police escort, my car was blocked, not by the police but by PKR supporters as they wanted to check whether my car had any extra ballot boxes. I rmb driving past and a lady shouted "Why you let the car in so easily? Why never check?" Haha.. Seriously respect these people who waited throughout the night to "guard" the whole area! 

As soon as i entered the school, we immediately met up with the other PACA heads from other schools in Lembah Pantai to consolidate the count. One of them was constantly on the phone with Nurul, updating her through out the tallying. We were working under this dodgy looking tent with flashlights as our only source of light
Our pathetic work area
. After a while, I took over the role of tallying all the Salurans under Lembah Pantai as different ones were shouting their results over the phone. Nurul started with a huge disadvantage as she was trailing 120 - 266 on postal votes and 76 to a whooping 1783 on Undi Awal. I started adding up the different reports from different schools and tried my so very best not to screw anything up. 

Up until the 12,000 count, Nurul was trailing by a couple of hundred votes with both sides having about 6000 votes each. We suddenly received an SMS from Bukit Bandaraya, J. Bangkung saying, PKR 3170, BN 947 IDV 8. With that, Nurul took the lead for the first time, with slightly more than 2000 margin. One by one, the results started coming in and Nurul continued to lead by about 3000 ++ votes. All of our tallying were based on SMS and calls but no confirmation was made as we did not crosscheck it against the Form 14 then. We are happy with the current results but many were still worried as this results werent fully verified and we have yet to receive anything from Sekolah Rendah Agama Sri Pantai, a BN fortress. By this time, we have moved to a classroom as things started to get quite messy and Nurul was arriving. 

Finally, the results came in from Agama Sri Pantai, and as we expected, it was 3992 against 5823 reducing our margin to slightly more than 1800. After recounting it twice, we were quite happy as with that results, Nurul has unofficially won, provided my maths has not failed me and that the figures given to me were accurate. With a constituency of more than 70,000 ppl, winning by 1800+ votes is quite small. I remember thinking to myself, how much crap i will be in if my calculations were wrong. We informed Nurul about the results and she reminded us that it is not over until the fat lady sings. Shortly after, we received news that TV3 and other government controlled media announced that Nurul has unofficially lost by 1800+ votes. Immediately the panic button triggered in the room and everyone started panicking. 

just before we received the news

We immediately started looking for all the Form 14s from all the salurans from all the schools, a total of 120 of them and started cross checking and recounting. We had to ensure that we collected all the form 14s as that will be used as evidence in an event of any dispute. News about the FRU being deployed and teargas being fired outside the school didnt help to calm anyone in the room.

By this time, Nurul was already outside, talking to various groups of people and ensuring that everyone is calm and patient about the results despite being nervous herself.
After slightly more than an hour, with the help of many volunteers, we managed to collect all 120 forms and we completed our final recount.

Nurul has unofficially won with 31,008 against 29,161 with a margin of 1,847 votes!! Various ones started sharing the news across all social media platforms and we could hear the crowd outside the school cheering away! by this time, RNC's supporters slowly left the site and RNC was no where to be seen. We proceeded to the main Dewan to wait for the official announcement. By this time, Nurul had a smile on her face and started to relaxed a bit more as different ones started congratulating her. She kept repeating the same line, "it's not over until the fat lady sings". What a tough lady, going through such intense pressure and stress and yet putting up a brave front!

Ambiga and her daughter dropped by

Nearing to the end, everyone was anticipating the final announcement from SPR.

Final results projected on the screens and it was a 100% match to our calculations!

At about 12,15am, SPR finally announced that Nurul Izzah Anwar has successfully defended her seat at Lembah Pantai!

Yes there were many stories on extra ballot boxes, unauthorized recounting, firing of teargas and fights with the FRU. Let me assure you that once you are in the final tallying center, it does not matter how many ballot boxes are there. The final count is derived by compiling the Form 14 from each Saluran, of which both parties and the SPR are required to sign. Ballot boxes are sealed and brought in as a formality. Recounting is only allowed in the respective Salurans of the schools, not at the final tallying centers. And this is only allowed if the margin of the saluran is less than 4%. IF we were actually required to recount in the tallying center, it would have been crazy, as we will need to recount up to 60,000 votes!!! No teargas was fired nor were there any confrontation with the FRU. Hence, please, do not spread stories which have not been verified, find out more and understand the election process and do not cause unnecessary distress among the people! I received countless of SMSs asking bout the extra mysterious boxes. Nothing of such at Lembah Pantai, at least.

It was a remarkable experience and definitely one that i will not forget in the near future. It's amazing to see so many people working behind the scenes to ensure that everything was in place. Few of them were running around for the past 20 hours with no rest and minimum food, all to ensure that we get every vote counted from the voting stations to the tallying center! People from all walks of life, regardless of age and race, came together without any form of payments or incentives, to ensure that we do our best for Nurul to defend her seat. That, defines 1 Malaysiabetter than any of the multi million dollar campaigns around.

Dubbed the “princess of reformation”, the "giant slayer" and "humble servant"; it was an honor to be able to be part of this event. I wish you success in Lembah Pantai and may you continue to serve the people with dignity, honor and love.

Thousands of agents and volunteers were deployed all around the country to help out with GE13, in the next GE, find out how you can also play your part for a better Malaysia!

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