"Ghost in a death shroud" finally allowed to vote in Indonesia

A West Kalimantan villager whose Chinese name literally translates as "ghost in a death shroud" in Indonesian has finally been approved as a legitimate voter by the General Elections Commission (KPU) after it determined that the man was real.

Pocong's name was added to the voter list for next year's polls only after officials in Singkawang lodged a formal protest with the KPU in Jakarta, which had rejected his listing because it thought it was a joke.

"Our officials in Singkawang gave us photographs of Pocong posing with them," KPU chairman Husni Kamil Manik said at a seminar in Jakarta on Monday. "They also gave us Pocong's family card to support their objection [to Pocong's exclusion from the voter list]." Pocong is probably the most popular character in traditional horror folklore and movies. A pocong is literally a corpse covered with a white shroud for Islamic burials. In horror stories, pocong are portrayed as living dead that terrorise the living.

Tribunpontianak.co reported that Singkawang election officials omitted Pocong's Chinese family name, Chai, from his ID card in 2009 as regulations did not require it. Pocong accepted the decision.

The incident occurred at a time when the KPU is racing against time to update the national voter list, which is scheduled to be published next week.

In the past, common mistakes made by local KPU officials included duplication of names, names of dead people or nonexistent people, supposedly made up by officials affiliated to particular political parties to rig the poll. - /pan