PETALING JAYA: Three opposition parties are disappointed with the Election Commission’s decision to have polling on a working day.
DAP’s M Kulasegaran wants the May 9 polling date to be declared a public holiday.
“The decision to hold polling on a working day hardly has the interests and convenience of voters in mind.
“What is the logic in giving priority to holding nominations on a weekend but holding the more significant polling day on a weekday?”
He asked if the EC was acting in the interest of, or had been influenced by, the Barisan Nasional.
Kulasegaran, a lawyer, reminded employers to follow Section 25 of the Elections Act 1958.
This law says that “every employer shall, on polling day, allow every voter a reasonable period for voting, and no employer shall make any deduction from the pay. Those who refuse or intimidate voters shall be liable to a fine of RM5,000 or to imprisonment for one (1) year”.
PAS secretary-general Takiyuddin Hassan said the party was disappointed with the decision as polling day should be on a Sunday.
“Our voters are mostly in KL. They may not be able to get leave on that day. Many of our voters may not even turn up. The EC should not be holding it on a working day,” he told FMT.
The Islamist party is also disappointed that the polling date is so close to the fasting month, which starts from mid May.
The EC announced today that nominations would be held on Saturday, April 28, and polling on Wednesday, May 9.
Takiyuddin said Muslims might want to save money for the coming Raya rather than spend on travelling to cast their votes.
“Some of our voters will usually travel with their families to vote. But now, they might think otherwise to save cost so that they can spend the money during Raya,” he said.
Therefore, he said, PAS would likely have to hire buses to make it easy for voters from big cities to vote in Kelantan.
PKR’s Wong Chen asked if the reason polling had been fixed for a Wednesday was because “Umno is afraid of a big turnout”. Some analysts and politicians believe a high turnout will benefit the opposition.
He too appealed to all employers to grant outstation voters a couple of days off so that they could vote.
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