Election Commission to get tough on party booths at Rantau

Modified 27 Mar 2019, 2:56 am

The Election Commission will send letters of undertaking to candidates for the upcoming Rantau by-election to warn them against setting up booths purportedly to aid voters on polling day.

The news portal The Malaysian Insight quoted a source as saying that the decision was made at a recent closed-door EC meeting.

This followed complaints about parties and candidates misusing the booths to harass voters and canvass for last-minute votes in the previous by-elections.

The Rantau by-election will be held on April 13, with nomination on March 30 and early voting on April 9.

Barisan Nasional incumbent Mohamad Hasan, who is Umno acting president, will take on PKR’s Dr S Streram, who is contesting on behalf of the ruling Pakatan Harapan coalition.

“Letters will be sent to the contesting parties and independent candidates about this," said the source.

The booths, widely known as "pondok panas" or "barong", were initially used to help voters verify their registration and voting station information.

“But they are now being used to canvass votes on polling day. Election monitors have reported that some of these booths were used to identify voters.”

The source said that the booths are unnecessary as there are plenty of EC workers on polling day.

“On top of that, the EC also sends cards to voters to inform them of the location of their polling stations."

The EC has expressed its concern with the number of offences committed during recent by-elections in Cameron Highlands and Semenyih, which it said had marred the image of the electoral process in Malaysia and made a mockery of the Election Offences Act 1954.

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