Indonesians in HK cast votes ahead of country’s elections as consulate general vows to stamp out fraud

16-Apr-2019 Intellasia | AFP | 6:38 AM Print This Post

Hundreds of Indonesians turned up at polling stations in Hong Kong on Sunday to take part in presidential and parliamentary elections, as the country’s consulate general in the city vowed to stamp out fraudulent votes.

On Wednesday, millions of Indonesians will elect their president, as well as 711 parliament members in a general election, after what has been an often heated campaign.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo of the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle, who is seeking re-election, will face Great Indonesia Movement Party candidate Prabowo Subianto.

Migrant workers in Hong Kong were given a head start on Sunday to cast their ballots in three locations — Wan Chai, Tsim Sha Tsui and Yuen Long. In light of a large turnout, the consulate general said it would keep the all polling stations open until all voters had a chance to cast ballots.

Speaking before voting started at 9am, Indonesian consul general in Hong Kong Tri Tharyat said his office had taken measures to ensure a fair election, including having a “very good database” of migrant workers in the city.

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“It helps a lot [with] the process of identifying the number of potential voters,” Tri said.

The consul general also said his office had sent letters to employers and employment agencies, urging them to return passports to migrant workers so they could exercise their political rights.

Consulate general staffer Suganda Supranto, also the chair of the local election committee, said he was confident the database was accurate and accounted for the latest changes in the Indonesian population in Hong Kong.

“We have high confidence that fraudulent voting should not happen,” he said.

To vote, Indonesians living in Hong Kong were only required to present their passports.

After casting their ballots, electors must dip a finger, usually the little one, in a pot of ink to prevent repeated voting.

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Tri said this year’s election would be the “biggest ever vote for Indonesians in Hong Kong”, with more than 180,000 Indonesians eligible to partake.

Some 54,000 had already confirmed with the consulate general they would vote on Sunday, while about 20,000 others working outside Indonesia sent their ballots by post.

At Queen Elisabeth Stadium in Wan Chai, voters arrived as early as 7.30am, ahead of the polling stations’ opening at 9am.

While voters were not allowed to display symbols of political parties near polling stations, some were dressed in hijabs with telling colours — red for the ruling Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle and black for the contesting Great Indonesia Movement Party.

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Foreign domestic worker Kamidiyah Sadikin was among the first to vote on Sunday.

She said the process had been smooth and fast, and praised the arrangement of letting workers cast their ballots from overseas.

Yudha, a 41 year-old male banker, said it was the first time he had cast his ballot from Hong Kong.

“I’m excited, it is quite a new experience for me,” he said, adding that the mild weather on Sunday was suitable for voting.

After voting closes, the ballots will be counted locally by the consulate general.


Category: Hong Kong

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