The Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall (KLSCAH) is disappointed at the announcements made by the Election Commission of Malaysia (EC) yesterday. On Oct 20, the EC announced that the nomination day will be on Nov 5. Meanwhile, the polling day of the 15th General Election (GE15) will be on Nov 19. This amounts to a 14-day campaign period. KLSCAH had previously filed an appeal to the Election Commission to extend the campaign period to 21 days. As expected, it has been rejected.
Now that the 14-day campaign period of GE15 is full steam ahead, KLSCAH hereby makes the following proposals, hoping that the EC heeds them:
- Announce the locations of additional polling centres straightaway: With the full implementation of the UNDI18 initiative and automatic voter registration, a surge of more than 5.8 million eligible voters is expected for the upcoming GE15. Although the Election Commission has promised to increase the number of polling stations and electoral districts to cope with the surge of voters for GE15, the statistics of areas with an increase in voter numbers are still unknown. Furthermore, how many more polling stations are to be added in these related areas? This has yet to be clarified by the Election Committee.
- Extension of postal voter registration till Oct 30: The current deadline for overseas voter registration stipulated by the EC is Oct 23. Although the GE15 postal voter registration opened to the public on Oct 10, we want to point out that the Election Committee opened this particular registration period for 14 days. This does not take into account that many first-time voters – who live overseas – have little knowledge of the voting process; the registration period given is not enough time for them at all. KLSCAH recommends that the Election Commission extend the postal voter registration until Oct 30, and simplify the registration process to encourage more overseas travellers to register as postal voters.
- Strengthen responses to flood relief initiatives: The GE15 coincides with the arrival of the northeast monsoon. Unfortunately, the Election Committee has not yet announced the standard operating procedures (SOPs) for flood response. The EC must cooperate with police, firefighter units and local flood relief initiatives, instigate defensive measures, and deploy sufficient manpower. Most importantly, there must be a setup for temporary disaster relief centres to resettle flood victims, and temporary polling stations in the disaster relief centres, to allow the affected households to vote.
Nevertheless, amidst the limited campaign period set by the Election Committee, KLSCAH appeals to the people to fulfil their duties as democratic citizens, by actively going out to vote. The effectiveness of a democracy depends on the gathering of our people’s strength to produce results for all. To choose not to use your vote is the same as giving up your rights, to vote under the Federal Constitution. We sincerely hope our Malaysian brothers and sisters, far and wide, acknowledge our birth-given rights.
The Kuala Lumpur and Selangor
Chinese Assembly Hall (KLSCAH)