Political bureau clears branch of irregularities

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PETALING JAYA ― The PKR political bureau has found no irregularities in the Julau branch mired by allegations of phantom voters despite an ongoing investigation by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC).

PKR communications director Fahmi Fadzil said the political bureau met on Wednesday night, during which secretary-general Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail said membership information was included in the central database after vetting by the bureau itself or the central election committee.

The Julau branch is under investigation after its roll went from 603 members to over 13,000 in just one day.

“The deadline to submit new membership applications was June 26 and the political bureau was informed that the large number of new intake for the Julau division was received on June 12,” he said in a statement yesterday.

“The finalised list was then approved in a special JPP (central election commitee) meeting after June 27 whereby it was then given to each division to scrutinise and raise any objections, which ended on July 17.”

Last month, Sarawak PKR information chief Vernon Kedit made a statutory declaration the new Julau PKR recruits were “not genuine, but made by stealing personal data and information without the knowledge of the owners and, therefore, not proper”.

Fahmi said that as of July 17, the PKR headquarters did not receive any form of objection from any party towards the new membership applications in the Julau division.

“Therefore, based on these facts and findings, the new membership applications in the Julau division are official,” he said.

The crisis in the Julau division became the key controversy in the ongoing party elections after several reports were lodged with the police and MACC over alleged forgery and money politics.

The MACC has since raided the office of Julau MP Larry Sng Wei Shien on Sunday to facilitate investigations into the alleged buying of thousands of votes.

At a function in Kuching on Wednesday night, PKR deputy president Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali urged MACC to pursue the “mastermind behind the dubious registration of party membership” in Sarawak.

Incumbent Julau branch chairman Semana Sawang questioned the party leadership as to how it reached the conclusion that there were no irregularities in the branch’s membership registration.

Semana claimed that even dead people have been registered as members in Julau, and that this did not seem to bother the party.

Meanwhile, outgoing party president Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail asserted yesterday she had not campaign for anyone during her recent visit to Sarawak.

She said she was supposed to visit the state earlier, but had to delay it to later, which coincided with the leadership election period there.