GE14: Employers must allow workers to vote to avoid violating law


 
KUALA LUMPUR: Employers must allow their workers to exercise their right to vote in GE14 on May 9, which falls on a Wednesday.
 
Human Resources Minister Datuk Seri Richard Riot Jaem said employers have to allow their workers to go out and vote.
 
"The staff must be given the opportunity,” he said when contacted by Bernama here Tuesday (April 10).
 
This is in line with the Election Offences Act 1954 which requires employers to allow their workers a reasonable period for voting.
 
Under Section 25(3) of the Act, any employers who refused to allow their workers to go out and vote on polling day are liable to a fine up to RM5,000 or jail term of one year upon conviction.
 
Earlier, Election Commission (EC) chairman Tan Sri Mohd Hashim Abdullah announced that polling day for GE14 will be on May 9, nomination day on April 28 and early voting on May 5.
 
Commenting on the polling date, Riot said the EC would have had its own reasons to choose that date. 
 
Malaysian Employers Federation (MEF) vice-president A. Ramadass said that polling day on Wednesday would not cause any problems to employers or affect the operation of companies. 
 
He said in respecting the rights of Malaysians, employers would give time off to employees to discharge their voting responsibility.
 
“It has indeed been accepted as a practice and it has also happened previously (polling on a working day). After all, it takes only a few hours to go out and vote, and then return to work,” he said.
 
However, for those who are voting in other states from the state they are employed, Ramadass said workers should ask for leave to return to their respective constituencies.   
 
Voting on a working day is not a novelty for Malaysians but it is not common. The first GE was held on Aug 19, 1959, which was on a Wednesday while the sixth GE in 1982 was held on Thursday, April 22.
 
The ninth and 10th general elections also fell on Mondays, namely on April  25, 1995 and Nov 29,1999 respectively. - Bernama 
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