LETTER | In preparation for the Malacca elections and the upcoming Sarawak elections, Tindak Malaysia, an electoral reform group, would like to present a short piece on your responsibility as a voter.
In light of the greater variety of candidates and the Covid-19 pandemic, voting in this era is both a privilege and responsibility for fellow Malaysians. This article does not cover the whole polling process. Rather, this piece highlights key facts a voter should know on polling day.
First, a voter (particularly in Malacca and Sarawak) must check his or her voting details via https://pengundi.spr.gov.my.
Please take note of the following information: Your state constituency (DUN), polling station (i.e., school, hall), voting channel (saluran) number, and voter number. Please write down these details, print it out from the website, or take a screenshot on the eve of polling day.
In light of Covid-19, additional information must be taken into account such as suggested voting time by the Election Commission (EC).
Second, a voter is advised to be present at the polling centre as per the suggested voting time by EC. This information comes together with your voting details found in https://pengundi.spr.gov.my.
While you are free to come anytime between the official time set by EC for the polling centre, we are aware that certain polling stations are overloaded (with more than 3,850 voters).
Through our lobbying, EC has added five polling stations for the Malacca elections, but this improvement does not cover many areas that we have listed.
For example, Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Bukit Baru (of DUN Bukit Katil) will be serving around 4,379 voters.
To prevent overcrowding issues and long queues, adhere to the EC’s suggested time. Please do not be late or arrive near the closing of polling hours.
Third, a voter must understand key aspects of the polling process. A voter must wear neutral clothing and avoid wearing anything showing party symbols. A voter must ensure the first polling clerk should check the voter’s face and cross reference with the IC.
When the first polling clerk loudly mentions your name for the reference to polling agents and staff, please ensure the first polling clerk correctly states your IC number too.
After the voter’s finger has been inked, his or her hands will be sanitised by the third polling clerk before the ballot is given.
Once the hand is sanitised, please be careful not to smudge the ballot with your inked finger or sanitised liquid. One of the potential consequences of smudging is your ballot choice could not be ascertained and this could become a rejected ballot.
Please also ensure the ballot paper has part of the EC’s chop.
Fourth, if you have a family member who has physical difficulties carrying out his or her duty, please make yourself available as the trusted person for this election.
While a physically challenged person or elderly voters are directed to the easiest voting channel (Saluran 1), there could be instances where the said voter would need assistance to mark and cast the ballot.
Our current law provides any Malaysian citizen of or over the age of 21 to be a trusted person (orang yang dipercayai) to assist voters who are blind or have physical difficulties.
Due to the broad definition, the concept of trusted person can be abused by political parties or candidates as the same person (to be trusted person) can be employed multiple times.
To stop this from happening, you should be the trusted person to the said family member who has difficulties in casting the vote.
Fifth, please respect the restrictions and privacy of the voting channel. You cannot use your handphone at all when you are physically in the voting channel. You must not violate the secrecy of the vote and please do not take any pictures of who you voted for.
We hope you have grasped the key concepts needed for voting. Have a wonderful and safe election. Vote wisely and be a diligent voter.
DANESH PRAKASH CHACKO is Tindak Malaysia’s director and research analyst at the Jeffrey Sachs Centre on Sustainable Development (Sunway University).
The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.