JAKARTA – Indonesian poll officials are probing the alleged discovery of ballot papers meant for overseas citizens which were found in Malaysia days before presidential and legislative elections are to be held in Indonesia, an official said on Friday.
Spokesperson for Indonesia’s election commission (KPU) Arif Priyo told EFE that the poll panel has sent a team to Kuala Lumpur to investigate the matter.
Some 40,000 to 50,000 postal ballots to be shipped as overseas votes were discovered at two locations in the Malaysian state of Selangor on Thursday.
Some of the voting papers were marked to favor President Joko Widodo and his allies, Yaza Azzhara, who heads the Indonesian poll monitoring committee in Malaysia, told news portal Detik.
Azzhara said some ballots were also found marked in favor of Davin Kirana, son of the Indonesian ambassador in Malaysia and legislative candidate from the Widodo-allied Nasdem Party.
Other ballots had not been opened or were unmarked.
Azzhara said the ballots were found during inspections after members of his committee based in the Malaysian capital were alerted by supporters of Indonesia’s opposition groups.
Several videos were posted on Thursday on social networks showing women punching holes in ballot papers – a method to mark a vote in Indonesia – at one of the locations investigated by police.
Indonesian Interior Minister Tjahjo Kumolo said in a statement that the government was waiting for an explanation from KPU and the security forces who were verifying the information.
Kumolo urged people to be careful while forwarding any information that could be false.
Presidential and legislative elections in Indonesia are to be held on April 17.
Widodo is widely seen as a favorite in the presidential elections, according to most of the surveys, which give him an advantage of around 20 percentage points over his rival, former General Prabowo Subianto, whom he had narrowly defeated in the previous elections in 2014.
More than 192 million Indonesians are eligible to vote on April 17 in the general elections in the country, which is the third-largest democracy in the world.