The by-elections for the Pendang parliamentary seat and the Anak Bukit state seat in Kedah will be held on July 18, announced the Election Commission (EC) today.
According to a Bernama report, the commission has fixed July 10 as the nomination day for the two seats which fell vacant following the death of PAS president Fadzil Noor on Sunday.
EC chairperson Abdul Rashid Abdul Rahman told a press conference that the electoral roll gazetted on Dec 20, 2001 and updated up to yesterday would be used in the polls involving the two seats.
According to the updated roll, Pendang has 53,128 voters, including 170 postal voters. The Anak Bukit seat has 19,399 voters, including 20 postal voters.
Abdul Rashid said the nomination centre for the Pendang seat will be the Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Pendang hall while for Anak Bukit, it will be the Bernas auditorium.
"Nomination will be from 9am to 11am after which there will be the objection period till 12.30pm," he was quoted as saying by Bernama .
He also advised all quarters, especially political parties, candidates, party workers and individuals to abide by election regulations and campaign ethics.
"The EC also advises the media to provide fair coverage to the contesting parties. The success of the two by-elections will depend on the cooperation from all relevant groups," he said.
According to Abdul Rashid, the commission has removed the names of 1,173 deceased people from the electoral roll in Pendang and 401 in the roll for Anak Bukit with the cooperation of the National Registration Department (NRD).
The EC chairperson was also confident that no problems would arise with the roll except in cases where the deaths of voters had not been reported to the NRD.
On the issue of phantom voters, he said the names on the list were valid even though certain persons might not be living in the area.
Fadzil who won the seats in the last general election died on June 23, two weeks after undergoing a heart-bypass surgery at the Hospital Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia in Kuala Lumpur.
The by-elections are vital for the ruling Barisan Nasional which saw its dominance in Kedah Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad's home state threatened by PAS in the 1999 election.
The Muslim-based opposition party won eight parliamentary seats and 12 state seats.
Meanwhile, Umno vice-president and Defence Minister Najib Tun Razak today described the by-elections as an acid test for Umno and BN.
"It enables us to see how far the political rehabilitation (regaining support for Umno) has become reality and how far it can be translated in the by-elections," he said.