UPDATE: Malaysiakini Editor’s note: On election night, we were informed by PKR candidate Badrul Hisham Shaharin that he was told by an EC official that there would be a recount. Our story on that night reflected this. In addition, on March 11 Badrul repeated that there was a recount at a press conference and this was reported by not only Malaysiakini but also a number of other newspapers. However, we have come to know now that such a recount did not take place. As such, we would like to apologise to Khairy Jamaluddin for publishing that assertion in our subsequent stories.
Earlier, I blogged that…
Khairy Jamaluddin, Umno deputy Youth chief and Prime Minister Abdullah Ahamd Badawi’s son in law has refuted a report in Malaysiakini: Ku Li: Power transition unconstitutional” by Syed Jaymal Zahiid on 18 April, 2008. His boss, Umno Youth Chief Hishamuddin Hussein said he did not believe Khairy had said this either.
A check with reporters say that other presses like the Chinese press had also reported it in the same way. So who is wrong here?
In an email clarification on my question to him on whether Hishamuddin or Malaysiakini was wrong, Khairy replied (note: Malaysiakini is yet to apologise for this part of the story):
Having listened to the audio recording, I can say for certain that Malaysiakini’s reporting was inaccurate. Below is the transcript based on the recording of the relevant part of my interview (which I am not even sure whether there was a Malaysiakini reporter present):
Reporter: Satu lagi mungkin YB hendak komen atau tidak, terpulang kepada YB – isu menghunus keris yang dibangkitkan oleh beberapa surat khabar, contohnya NST dan Berita Harian. Ini merupakan satu faktor dimana BN kalah, khususnya di kalangan masyarakat bukan melayu.
Khairy: Tak pe lah, saya komen kemudian, later, later.
Reporter: Jadi sekarang Dato’ Hisham kata dia hendak mengkaji balik lah, jika mengangkat keris, perbuatan ini tidak disambut baik oleh pengundi. Jadi, bagaimana?
Khairy: It’s ok. Saya rasa perlu ada fikiran yang terbuka kepada apa jua isu yang telah dikenalpasti sebagai satu isu yang menyebabkan sokongan untuk BN itu menjadi kurang. Bukannya satu-satunya isu itu, tapi… generally, apa sahaja isu yang telah dikenalpasti sebagai punca, perlu kita kaji dengan fikiran yang terbuka…I am not saying it is or it isn’t, but whatever has been identified.
Reporter: Jadi adakah perbuatan ini akan berulang?
Khairy: That one we can discuss.
Reporter: Jadi isu ini akan dibangkitkan dalam mesyuarat Exco Pemuda UMNO
Khairy: Saya tak tau.
In the article ”Ku Li: Power transition unconstitutional” by Syed Jaymal Zahiid on 18 April, 2008, it was stated that:
Meanwhile, Abdullah’s son-in-law and Umno deputy Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin who has been evading the media radar was also present to give comments on the March 8 polls.
The Rembau MP conceded that the keris-wielding incident had contributed to the reduction of votes towards Umno and BN.
However, he said the incident was not the sole contributor to Umno and BN’s poor performance though he did not elaborate as to what the other factors were.
“If you read the transcript of my entire comments, you will see that I had qualified everything by saying, “I am not saying it is or it isn’t…” This was clearly a contextual reference to the issue of whether the keris was a cause of BN losing support during the election. What I clearly said was that we have to have an open mind towards any issue that has been identified by analysts as causes for BN losing support. Which means not just that one issue (of the keris) but any issue that has been identified as a cause must be studied with an open mind. Then I qualify everything by saying that I am not making a judgement whether or not the keris is a cause”.
“So taken in context, it is quite clear that I am saying whatever issues that have been identified must be looked into, including the keris. But as far as I am concerned, I didn’t say that it was a cause for the loss of support as reflected in Malaysiakini’s report which says that I, “… concede the keris-wielding incident had contributed to the reduction of votes towards Umno and BN.”
“While we are on the subject of Malaysiakini’s sloppy and mischievous reporting, I want to draw your attention to a quote attributed to me in the same article as above. I reproduce below the remainder of the article which puts that quote in the context of the article:
“Khairy dismissed the allegation that he won the Rembau seat by cheating via the use of postal votes.
They counted the postal votes first and not after the recount. Even if the postal votes are not counted, I would have won by some 500 over votes,” he said.
The Rembau March 8 results became controversial after the first count saw Khairy’s PKR opponent winning by some 800 majority votes…
This result however turned after Khairy demanded a recount. Following this, he was declared a winner by a majority of 5,726 votes.
Compare this with the transcript of Khairy’s interview which he provided via email:
Reporter: Ada satu lagi khabar angin menyatakan bahawa di kawasan YB Rembau, mula-mulanya YB itu kalah, tetapi tiba-tiba itu ada beberapa ribu punya undi pos untuk kurangkan…
Khairy: Ini memang tidak betul sekalilah. Ini adalah satu pembohongan yang besar. Saya sendiri ada di pusat kira undi malam itu dan memang tidak ada soal saya kalah atau pun kiraan semula. Tidak pernah ada.
Reporter: Tak ada kira semula?
Khairy: Tak ada, tak ada, mana ada. Saya ada.
Reporter: Pos pun tak ada?
Khairy: Pos yang pertama masuk, pos yang pertama diumumkan.
Reporter: Berapa undi pos?
Khairy: Saya tak ingat beberapa undi pos, tapi yang saya ingat saya menang undi pos dalam 500 lebih kurang. My majority undi pos lebih kurang 500, macam itu lah.
Reporter: Jumlah undi pos?
Khairy: Tak ingat, tak ingat, tapi kalau you tolak yang saya menang majority undi pos tu, saya menang lagi 5000 lebih. So, tak … tuduhan yang saya dengar tu undi pos ni datang tiba-tiba aja, tapi undi pos yang the first to announce, yang pertama announce is undi pos, jadi tak de apa… dan my majority for undi pos about 500 only, so kalau you tolak tu pun, I still win. Bukan macam I menang kerana undi pos… no, no I menang 5800.
Reporter: Mula-mula kami dapat tu, KJ tu menang tipis je, tiba-tiba.
Khairy: Yalah, itu orang-orang, mahu cakap saya kalah lah, mahu kata… mahu question credibility, kemenangan. Tak pe lah kalau dia nak buat petition dekat mahkamah, silalah, tapi saya ada di situ, yang lawan saya tak ada di situ, kalau ada recount, mesti dia ada di situ. Kalau betul kata dia menang pada awalnya, mesti dia ada di situ, tapi dia tak ada di situ, saya ada disitu.
Khairy said at no point during the interview did he ever say that there was a recount as attributed to him in the article:
“Why should I say that when I know that there was no recount? But Malaysiakini conveniently quotes me as saying, “They counted the postal voted first and not after the recount.” This is absolute fabrication on their part”.
“Of course, the rest of the article is also false alleging that I had initially lost then demanded a recount. This is something that the Election Commission has confirmed never took place. I hope these errors are the result of incompetence because otherwise they are more sinister and deliberate in nature and represent a pattern of deceit on their part against me”.
I have spoken to Fathi Aris Omar @ Malaysiakini last night, and he said he will look into the matter. He is awaiting the ‘clarification’ in this blog.
Meanwhile, let me check with Chegu Bard, KJ’s opponent in Rembau at the 12th General Elections, on whether there was any ”recount” or not.