Catastrophic disorder of Indonesian elections for citizens abroad: KPU must take responsibility

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Indonesian citizens living abroad must queue for hours to exercise their rights to vote. (photo: IO/Prive. Doc)

IO, Jakarta – The 2019 general election might be considered the “noisiest party” of democracy. From the findings of 17.5 million multiple voter data that has yet to be resolved, the issue of 7 defective ballot containers, not to mention a number of voting cards pre-casted for number 01 candidate before voting day. Meanwhile, in the legislative election ballot, an irregularity: NasDem party signed in with its candidate number 3, David Kirana, who is the son of Lion Air businessman and also the Indonesian Ambassador to Malaysia, Rusdi Kirana. As a result of this discovery, a number of parties requested the elections in Malaysia be halted, but in fact they still went ahead.

Deputy Chairperson of the National Committee to Elect Prabowo-Sandi (BPN), Ahmad Muzani, urged the election organizers to investigate the alleged violations of the ballot for one of the candidates and legislative candidates in Malaysia. BPN considered that ignoring election violations could tarnish the quality of democracy.

Not only in Malaysia: election problems also occurred in Sydney, Australia. Voters were disappointed by not being able to exercise their voting rights because of time constraints. Due to limited time of the building rental, the Foreign Election Committee (PPLN) closed the gate, so people who had lined up were denied their right to vote, even though according to regulations, people awaiting their turn must be allowed to cast their votes.

The overwhelming participation of Indonesian citizens abroad was also evident in Hong Kong and Saudi Arabia: those who expected to exercise their rights to vote were forced to wait a long time. As a result, many Indonesian citizens could not use their voting rights, even though they had been standing in line for quite long. This shows PPLN’s incompetence in facilitating the political rights of our citizens.

The chairman of the Hong Kong Election Supervisory Committee (Panwaslu) for Indonesian citizens, Fajar Kurniawan and Foreign Election (PPLN) Chairperson Suganda Supranto, confirmed 20 people entered the polling station after the election process was finished. They broke through the election area in disappointment because they could not exercise their voting rights at the TPS (polling station) Queen Elizabeth Stadium, Wan Chai, Hong Kong. Panwaslu and PPLN agreed not to allow the 20 people to enter. In reference to KPU Regulation Number 3 of 2019 which states that the election process is to take place from 09.00 to 19.00, local time.

Some Indonesian citizens in The Hague, Netherlands, said they had to queue for hours before being able to vote at foreign polling stations. Not only that, out of two thousand voter ballots that have been sent to Indonesian citizens in the Netherlands, many did not return to the PPLN. The ballots that had been used to vote were apparently returned to the sender’s address because for having no stamps, although there was a post code.

Meanwhile, Indonesian citizens in Istanbul also did not get a ballot from PPLN due to minimal number  of ballots available. “What we regret is, when did PPLN know that the ballots were limited? And why they did not inform us to take part in the election starting February. We queued for an hour, and we were dismissed because they ran out of ballots. Those who did not get to vote numbered around a hundred people,” said one of the Indonesian citizens who was quite busy on social media.

Gone viral on social media, the complaints of Indonesian citizens in Sydney against PPLN forced the Election Supervisory Body (Bawaslu) to conduct a repeat vote. Bawaslu states there are procedures not suitable for voting. Bawaslu concluded the closing of polling stations at 18.00 local time caused a number of voters that were unable to use their rights to vote as stipulated in the election legislation. It was considered to be unsuitable with the fair principle in the implementation of the 2019 General Election.

Bawaslu also recommended a repeat vote in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. They also proposed to KPU to replace the Kuala Lumpur PPLN regarding the marred ballots in Selangor. “Bawaslu recommends KPU replace two PPLN officials, Krishna Hannan (Deputy Ambassador) and Djadjuk Natsir (person in charge of collection) to avoid conflicts of interest,” said Bawaslu Commissioner Rahmat Bagja.

According to KPU Chairperson for the period of 2016-2017, Juri Ardiantoro, two basic things related to election issues abroad must be taken seriously. If not, there is a high probability of distortion or cheating of the election results. “The first fundamental thing is how the implementation of elections can guarantee that every citizen who fulfills the requirements as a voter can freely exercise their rights to vote without any obstacles,” he said in a press release in Jakarta on Monday (April 15).

Secretary General of the Independent Election Monitoring Committee (KIPP) Indonesia Kaka Suminta said the problem of voting that occurred abroad was due to the inaccuracy of the KPU in recording the number of voters, from the voter list (DPT) and the additional voters list (DPTb), moreover in three regions like Osaka (Japan), Sydney (Australia) and Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia). As a result, Kaka said that PPLN could not predict the community classified as the Special Voters List (DPK). In addition, this problem also resulted in voters entering the DPT categorization and DPTb being unable to use their voting rights because they got mixed up with DPK voters to get their ballots.

According to Kaka, the KPU must be held responsible. The disorder that occurred in the field cannot only blame the PPLN or the Foreign Voters Organizing Group (KPPSLN). “Because it happened quite evenly, I think the KPU must be responsible. Not only KPPSLN individually,” Kaka said. The KPU must be well prepared with the technical shift of ballots if there is a buildup of voters in a region or voting stations. Furthermore, according to regulations, the number of backup ballots should have been available by two percent of the total voters at one polling station.

With so many disorders during the general elections in several countries, the KPU seems to simply give a nonchalant response. Even KPU Chairperson Arief Budiman said if the ballots were casted in Malaysia by someone, it’s just an ordinary issue. “Let’s just say it’s rubbish,” he said. How can a KPU chairman be so permissive about fraud and disorder for Indonesian general elections abroad that should be investigated or even disqualified? (Haris Winarto)