Mid-week polling date for GE14?

Jahabar Sadiq

An elderly woman waiting outside a polling station in Kuala Lumpur during the 1999 general election, which fell on Monday, November 29. – AFP pic, March 29, 2018.

A MID-WEEK polling date is on the cards for the 14th general election that is likely to be held within a month of the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) government manifesto launch on April 7, sources say.

It is understood that Parliament will be dissolved after both the Dewan Rakyat and Dewan Negara end their current sitting on April 5. BN’s current mandate expires on June 24 and elections must be called within 60 days after the mandate ends.

“We are looking at Parliament dissolution by April 7. Then it’s about a month or so before the elections are held, just before the fasting month starts in mid-May,” a source told The Malaysian Insight.

While the Election Commission (EC) has the final say in deciding nomination and polling dates, conventional wisdom is that the ruling party usually suggests the election timing. Malaysia has no law that fixes election dates.

A mid-week election could result in a lower voter turnout for GE14, as there is a large diaspora of Malaysian voters, particularly in Singapore, Hong Kong and Australia, who return when the general election is usually held over the weekend.

A civil society campaign in the 2008 and 2013 elections to get the voters abroad to return resulted in the ruling BN losing its parliamentary super majority that allows it to push through legislation without help from the opposition.

The voter turnout on a Saturday in the 2008 elections was 75.99%, while it was 84.4% in the 2013 polls on a Sunday, which also saw the BN losing the popular vote.

Civil society activists and electoral watchdog Bersih 2.0 have said that a voter turnout of more than 80% is needed for the federal opposition to win the polls, now made difficult with a re-delineation of electoral boundaries that they say gives BN an advantage in GE14.

Despite weekend elections being in the norm in recent years, history showed that the first two elections – in 1955 and 1959 – in then Malaya were held on Wednesdays.

Voters queueing up to cast their vote at a polling centre in Kuala Lumpur in 1999. –  AFP pic, March 29, 2018.

Malaysia’s longest-serving prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad sought his first mandate in 1982 in elections that stretched from Thursday, April 22, to Monday, April 26, due to logistics issues in the Borneo states of Sabah and Sarawak.

Dr Mahathir now leads the federal opposition for GE14, although he supported Prime Minister Najib Razak in the 2013 polls. 

General elections in 1995 and 1999 were held on Mondays, according to records.

Deputy Home Minister Nur Jazlan Mohamed caused outrage in social media over the past two days when he castigated Hong Kong airline Cathay Pacific for offering to waive surcharges for those changing their flying dates to accommodate polling day.

Jazlan had accused the airline of supporting regime change with its offer, which other social media users said amounted to saying that Malaysians working and living abroad were more akin to supporting the federal opposition.

The airline denied the accusation, which led Jazlan to ask if it would do the same for citizens of other countries when elections are held elsewhere. – March 29, 2018.

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  • If UmnoBN is so hard pressed to ensure their win by whatever means from devious manipulations to deceit act of gerrymandering, what else is in store , save the Peoples Power to make a change.

    Posted 6 years ago by Lee Lee · Reply

  • anything to push voter turnout down. because BN's voters are either civil servants, and they'll get the day off courtesy of their paymasters, or unemployed idiots, who have nothing better to do than vote in the middle of the day on a wednesday. another possible tactic from jibby to steal the election.

    Posted 6 years ago by Tommy richard · Reply

  • Now malindo is offering the same package,nur jazlan son of madey's stooge must jumping mad

    Posted 6 years ago by Leslie Chan · Reply