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Thursday March 22, 2007

April 12 polling date for Machap by-election

PUTRAJAYA: Polling for the vacant Machap state seat will be on April 12, if there is a contest. 

The Election Commission has set April 3 as nomination day. 

The seat fell vacant following the death of state assemblyman Datuk Wira Poh Ah Tiam on March 15. 

Final goodbye: Thousands of MCA members, friends and relatives of the late Machap assemblyman paying their last respects as the cortege leaves his house for the Jelutong cemetery yesterday.
In the 2004 general election, Poh obtained 5,487 votes to defeat DAP’s Liou Chen Kuang, who polled 1,285 votes. 

EC chairman Tan Sri Abdul Rashid Abdul Rahman said there are 9,623 eligible voters in the state seat. They include 108 postal voters, as at March 15. 

The bulk of the voters are Chinese (45%). The other voters are Malays (38%), Indians (15%) and others (2%). 

Abdul Rashid said eight schools would be used as polling stations, adding that he did not expect any problem in conducting the by-election. 

The EC expects 75% of the voters to turn up, he told reporters here yesterday. 

Alor Gajah district officer Hasim Ismail would be the returning officer at the by-election, for which the EC has budgeted RM100,000.  

Abdul Rashid said the Machap by-election would be the last for Malacca before the next general election, scheduled for 2009. 

Sad send-off: (from left) Malacca Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Rustam, MCA president Datuk Seri Ong Ka Ting, MCA vice-president Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek and MCA Youth chief Datuk Liow Tiong Lai walking behind the funeral cortege yesterday. — Bernama
He said the last “allowed date” for a by-election differed among the states, as it depended on the day the state concerned held its first legislative assembly after the general election. 

Malacca held its first state assembly meeting on April 17, 2004 and as such will mark its third year on April 16.  

If any seat falls vacant after this date, there will not be any more polls until the general election is held. 

However, added Abdul Rashid, the EC could allow a by-election after the expiry of the three-year deadline for special cases, such as when the Government has only a one seat majority over the Opposition or vice-versa. 

“The same goes for Parliamentary seats,” he said, adding that the first Dewan Rakyat sitting after the last general election was May 17, 2004. 

Regarding claims that the EC was not being transparent, he asked those not satisfied with the commission to bring the matter up in court. 

Asked if he had met Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi regarding giving more powers to the EC, he said:  

“The EC functions within the framework of the law.”  

Related Stories:
DAP to contest for seat, PKR still not sure
CM to meet state MCA on candidate for Machap


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