KUALA LUMPUR: The Election Commission will get even tougher on the poster war for future elections – by limiting posters to only those of the candidate and party.
Even posters of party leaders may not be allowed.
Commission chairman Tan Sri Abdul Rashid Abdul Rahman said the number and size of posters would be determined according to the size of the constituency.
He also said that political parties would only be allowed to put up one billboard per constituency.
Abdul Rashid said these were among the commission's proposed changes to the regulations under the Elections Act and were agreed to by the Government.
They are being fine-tuned by the Attorney-General’s Chambers.
The new election rules will, however, not be in place in time for the Sarawak state elections. Nomination has been set for tomorrow and polling for May 20.
“For the Sarawak elections, we will advise the parties about the proposals and probably guide them,” he told The Star.
He said the commission would determine the types and sizes of posters and billboards in its regulations.
Asked if this meant that only posters of candidates and parties would be allowed, Abdul Rashid said the matter was being considered.
“In Malaysia, the trend is for voters to cast their ballots for the party and not the candidate. So, I think we should allow party posters. As for their leaders, we will make a decision later.”
Abdul Rashid said this was to ensure election campaigns were conducted in an orderly manner, without “messing up” the environment, as in the past.
“The new guidelines are aimed at avoiding a poster war and unnecessary quarrels or skirmishes among party workers and supporters that could arise as a result of posters being defaced or destroyed.”
Abdul Rashid said there were also cases in the past where candidates spent too much money on posters and banners, giving them an unfair advantage over “poorer” candidates.
“For example, during the Pengkalan Pasir by-election last year, some areas were covered with so many banners and posters that even the sunlight was blocked. We want a stop to this.”
Noting that political parties were spending too much on campaign posters, Abdul Rashid said that in the 2004 general election, the contesting parties spent a whopping RM110mil on plastic posters, pamphlets and banners.
He said there was an outflow of funds as much of the money was spent in Thailand and Taiwan, where the printers were located.
“The funds could have been better used for projects in the country.”
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