Longer hours and more places to vote in GE15

Improving the process: The number of voting centres and channels will be increased to avoid congestion. — KT GOH/The Star


KUALA LUMPUR: Voters will get an extra hour to cast their ballots in the 15th General Election (GE15), which will also see more polling stations being opened up.

These are among several improvements made by the Election Commission (EC) to allow the public more time to vote, said Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Parliament and Law) Datuk Seri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar.

“The voting time will be extended by an hour, starting from 8am to 6pm in the peninsula, and 7.30am to 5.30pm in Sabah and Sarawak,” he said.

These measures would be put in place to ensure that the election was conducted in an efficient, fair and transparent manner, he said in a written reply to a question from Datuk Seri Mukhriz Mahathir (Pejuang-Jerlun) in the Dewan Rakyat here yesterday.

Mukhriz had asked about the EC’s measures to ensure a high voter turnout rate and to guarantee the transparency of the voting process. During GE14 in 2018, the voter turnout was 82.32% and there were long queues at some polling centres.

Wan Junaidi said the number of voting centres and channels would be increased this time, taking into account Undi18 – which lowered the voting age to 18 – and automatic voter registration.

“This is to avoid any congestion at the voting centres and channels,” he said.

The EC had said that there would be 9,560 polling centres for GE15, compared to 9,010 centres previously, while polling streams will increase from 29,054 to 38,990.

Wan Junaidi added that a special lane for voters aged 60 and above and the disabled group (OKU) will also be set up and limited to 450 voters.

The EC will also abolish the previous conditions for postal voting that were implemented in GE14, he added.

“With the abolition of these conditions, Malaysian citizens who are abroad and are registered voters are eligible to apply as postal voters,” he said.

Previously, only those who have lived in or returned to Malaysia for 30 days or more in the past five years could apply to be postal voters.

Those who were living in southern Thailand (Narathiwat, Pattani, Yala, Songkhla and Satun), Singapore, Brunei or Kalimantan, did not qualify for postal voting and had to come back to vote.

Wan Junaidi also said that the EC, with the cooperation of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) and the police, viewed seriously all offences and breaches of the law by any political party or candidate, whether it happened before, during or after the campaign period.

There would be follow-up action to complaints lodged with the MACC or the police, he said.

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