KUCHING, April 14 – Sarawakians go to the polls on May 7 in the 11th state election. Nomination is on April 25, the Election Commission announced here today after a special meeting. EC chairman Datuk Seri Mohd Hashim Abdullah said a total of 1,138,650 registered voters are eligible to vote in this election.
They are 1,113,522 ordinary voters, 25,022 absentee voters comprising early voters from the military, police and General Operations Force and their spouses, and 106 postal voters abroad. He said early voting is on May 3. Mohd Hashim said applications for postal ballot papers open on April 14 and close on April 25 (for voters abroad), April 27 (for voters – police and military personnel and media personnel – in the country) and May 1 (for EC workers).
The master electoral rolls of 2015, updated as of April 10 this year, would be used for the election, he told a news conference here. Mohd Hashim said the writ of election was issued on April 14 and the notice of election would be issued on April 15. The Sarawak state legislative assembly was dissolved on April 11 to pave the way for the state election within 60 days.
In the last state election, in 2011, the Barisan Nasional won 55 of the 71 seats at stake then; the DAP, 12; PKR, three, and an Independent, one. The DAP lost one seat after it expelled its Pujut assemblyman Fong Pau Teck for alleged infighting. In the 11th state election, the number of seats has increased by 11 to 82 following a redelineation of electoral boundaries last year.
Mohd Hashim said the EC would appoint 82 returning officers, one for each of the constituencies, as well as 20,811 election workers to conduct the election. He said 1,879 premises would be used as polling centres, with 2,959 polling streams. The EC would also set up an election campaign enforcement team to monitor all campaign activities during the official campaign period.
In additional, he also said that it is estimated that this election will need a budget of RM135.6 million. Mohd Hashim said the EC would also appoint the local observers to observe the election process from the nomination day to the announcement of the results.