May 9, 2018. A Wednesday. Polling Day for GE14.
I wrote the last piece for The Malaysian Insight before we suspended for a bit on March 29 that GE14 would most likely be held mid-week. Not many believed it, a few newspapers later came out with the same piece.
One can guess all the reasons for that date, because the Election Commission isn’t telling the reasons for choosing it.
One can also speculate about the duration between the parliament dissolution and nomination day, and polling day.
In PM Najib Razak’s maiden effort in 2013, parliament was dissolved April 3, nomination day set for April 20, advance voting on April 30 and polling date was May 5.
This year, parliament dissolved April 7, nomination day is April 28, advance voting on May 5 and polling date is May 9.
It would be easy to figure out the reasons. The 2013 polls had a voter turnout of 84.4 percent, costing the ruling Barisan Nasional the popular vote since 1969 and still unable to retrieve the parliamentary super majority.
Obviously that cannot happen again and a mid-week polling date – set by the nominally independent EC – is one of the better ways to trim numbers to the usually 75 percent voter turnout that gives BN its majority popular vote.
Could there be other reasons? Perhaps to also win back Kelantan that it lost in the 1990 polls to PAS? Despite the Islamist party being seen as a friendly opponent this time around?
What is certain is that BN wants to win, and win big. Two thirds of the 222-seat Dewan Rakyat for its parliamentary super majority. The popular vote.
A mid-week polling can cut the voting public to size, especially those from abroad, those far away from safety deposit states of Sabah and Sarawak.
We are talking a total of 15 million registered voters as of December 31, 2017, the cut-off date for those eligible to cast their ballots.
After all the recriminations, laments and curses, what can one do? More than 3 million eligible voters remain unregistered. The diaspora away from their polling stations could be up to 2 million.
Within hours of the EC announcement of the May 9 date, a group of Malaysians on social media have initiated fund raisers and volunteers to pay for air tickets and provide car pools.
You can track this at #CarpoolGE14 #PulangMengundi #JomBalikMengundi or email email@example.com
You can donate time, space and money. You can do more to make sure all registered voters get to cast their ballots.
Because you will write the next chapter of Malaysia’s history together with other Malaysians.
No matter what day the polling date is or how far the polling station is or your choice for government.
#malaysia #politics #GE14