KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 19 — More than 20 million registered voters are heading to the polls in the 15th general election (GE) today to elect representatives for their respective constituencies for the next five years.
Also held today is voting for the Bugaya state by-election in Sabah, which was postponed following the proclamation of an emergency to contain the Covid-19 pandemic.
Polling stations in Peninsular Malaysia opens at 8am, and in Sabah, Sarawak and Labuan from 7.30 am.
According to the Election Commission (EC) website, polling stations in Peninsular Malaysia will close in stages between 12 noon and 6pm.
However, there are polling stations that will close earlier, including a polling centre at Balai Raya Pulau Besar in Mersing, Johor, which will close at 11am.
In Sabah, Sarawak and Labuan, polling stations will close between 11 am and 5.30 pm.
According to a statement issued by the EC on October 20, a total of 8,958 ordinary voting centres, comprising 38,348 polling stations, were opened throughout the country.
The electoral roll which will be used for GE15 contains a total of 21,173,638 voters. Of this number, 20,905,366 are ordinary voters; 146,737 military personnel and their spouses; 118,794 police personnel and their spouses, including those from the General Operations Force (GOF) and their spouses; and 2,741 are absentee voters abroad.
A total of 1,393,549 voters aged 18 to 20 will cast their ballots for the first time in GE15, following the implementation of Undi 18.
Early voting took place on Tuesday (November 15), which saw 94.72 per cent, or 212,961 voters, involving security personnel and spouses, performing their responsibilities.
However, the EC has set the election for Padang Serai parliamentary seat to be held on Dec 7 following the death of incumbent cum Pakatan Harapan (PH) candidate M. Karupaiya last Wednesday.
EC chairman, Tan Sri Abdul Ghani Salleh, in a statement yesterday, said that GE15 for the parliamentary seat has been set for December 7, while nomination day is on November 24 and early voting is on December 3.
After the nomination process on November 5, 945 candidates were confirmed eligible to contest 222 parliamentary seats nationwide, the highest in the country’s election history.
Following the decision to hold the Padang Serai parliamentary seat election separately, 939 candidates will vie for 221 parliamentary seats.
Karupaiya, 69, was set to defend the seat in a six-cornered clash against Hamzah Abd Rahman (Pejuang-Putra), Datuk C. Sivaraajh (Barisan Nasional-MIC), Mohd Bakhri Hashim (Warisan), Datuk Azman Nasrudin (Perikatan Nasional-Bersatu) and independent candidate Sreanandha Rao.
Meanwhile, a total of 441 candidates are contesting 117 state seats in Perak, Pahang, Perlis and N66 – Bugaya state seat in Sabah.
To reduce the risk of Covid-19 infection, Health Minister, Khairy Jamaluddin, said that voters who tested positive for Covid-19 should report their health status in their respective MySejahtera applications, to be informed about the voting guidelines.
They are also required to wear face masks and are not allowed to ride in public vehicles including e-hailing. The use of face masks for other voters is highly encouraged.
In the meantime, the EC, in its previous statement, said that the use of mobile phones at polling stations (channels) is disallowed for GE15.
It said that voters are required to leave their mobile phones in the place provided after receiving the ballot paper and retrieve it after completing the voting process.
As a reminder, notices and posters prohibiting the use of mobile phones will be on display, outside and inside the polling station.