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Malaysia's Election Commission ready for snap polls; studying option of e-voting further

Malaysia's Election Commission ready for snap polls; studying option of e-voting further

File photo of the Chini by-election held in July 2020 amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (File photo: Bernama)

KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian Election Commission (EC) is ready for a general election should snap polls be called in the near future, said Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Takiyuddin Hassan on Thursday (Jul 16). 

During the minister’s question time in the parliament, Mr Takiyuddin said the EC was also working on improving election procedures in line with the COVID-19 standard operating procedures (SOPs). 

READ: Growing calls for Malaysia PM Muhyiddin to call snap polls

He added that although e-voting was a consideration during the pandemic, there were many shortcomings to the system.

“We have considered e-voting, but the EC has found that there were challenges in relation to voter secrecy, security and cost. 

"The EC is still not satisfied with these aspects so we will have to study it further before a decision can be made on whether it could be implemented,” he said.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Parliament and Law) Takiyuddin Hassan. (File photo: Bernama)

In response to another question by Padang Terap Member of Parliament Mahdzir Khalid on why it would be an obstacle for Malaysia when many other countries used e-voting, Mr Takiyuddin said countries like Brazil that have used the system encountered many issues when the results were out.

“Due to the fact that the system was not entirely foolproof, questions arise on the legitimacy of the results and some countries have eventually turned back to traditional voting methods.

“This is why, our primary focus now is to continue improving our traditional voting system while ensuring the election processes were compliant to the SOPs by the Ministry of Health,” he said.

READ: Pakatan Harapan reiterates support for Anwar as PM candidate

Elaborating on the improvements to the traditional voting methods, Mr Takiyuddin said the EC would be adding more polling stations in districts with higher voter numbers.

“This will ease the process for the voters in these districts. Besides that the EC would also continuously update the list of registered voters from time to time and cancel out the names of those who have passed away or have lost their citizenship.

“By doing so, we can ensure that the entire process of elections happen smoothly without any glitches,” he said.

Voters lining up to cast their votes in the Chini by-election on Jul 4, 2020. (File photo: Bernama)

There have been growing calls from both sides of the political divide for Malaysian Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin to hold snap polls, as questions linger over whether he commands an effective majority in parliament.

Mr Muhyiddin was sworn in as Malaysia’s eighth prime minister on Mar 1, following the collapse of the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government.

However, his legitimacy as the head of the Perikatan Nasional (PN) government has been an issue of debate. Based on the bloc voting in the Parliament on Monday to remove the speaker, PN is believed to have 113 seats out of 222, a majority of two seats.

Source: CNA/kd


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