EC Prepared To Consider Shorter Polling Process, Longer Cooling Off Period

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JAKARTA, April 9 – A shorter polling process and a maximum cooling off period of three days may be introduced in the Malaysian election system in the future. Election Commission chairman Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof said the commission was prepared to carry out a review on the system and consider the possibility of introducing the new regulations if they could really help in making the election system in the country more effective. “The two new regulations can be made without amendments (of election-related articles) as stipulated in the Federal Constitution,” he told reporters after visiting several polling centres in conjunction with the Indonesian Parliamentary Election 2014 here Wednesday. On the shorter polling process, Abdul Aziz said the proposed period to be introduced was from 8 am to 3 pm, compared to the current period from 8 am to 5 pm.

“Based on our experience, the voters turnout percentage will decrease by two per cent after 3 pm until the end of polling time…for me, the ideal (polling) period is seven hours. “We have actually introduced shorter polling period in remote areas of Sabah and Sarawak where the number of voters was really small,” he said. Abdul Aziz said from his observation, the three-day cooling off period as practised in the Indonesian elections, was very effective, including in preventing party supporters from campaigning outside the campaign period. He said voters would also be ‘calmer’ as they would have ample time to make their decisions. In Malaysia, he said the cooling off period would only begin at midnight on the last day of the campaign period until the time the winners of the elections were announced.

Meanwhile, Abdul Aziz who led the EC delegation invited to witness the Indonesian Elections here, commended the whole process and described it as being implemented in a proper and courteous manner. Bernama checks also found that the process involving 400 voters at every polling centre here ran smoothly without any incident. Over 500,000 polling centres across the republic were opened at 7 am and closed at 1 pm to enable a total of 185.5 registered voters to cast their votes to elect their representatives for the 560 parliamentary seats.

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