Poll reforms panel moots end to archaic poster, banner wars

Electoral Reform Committee (ERC) chairman Tan Sri Abdul Rashid Abdul Rahman addresses a stakeholder engagement programme in Ipoh August 15, 2019. — Picture by Farhan Najib
Electoral Reform Committee (ERC) chairman Tan Sri Abdul Rashid Abdul Rahman addresses a stakeholder engagement programme in Ipoh August 15, 2019. — Picture by Farhan Najib

IPOH, Aug 15 — The Electoral Reform Committee (ERC) proposed that the government do away with banners and posters for election campaigns due to their high cost.

Chairman Tan Sri Abdul Rashid Abdul Rahman said it was burdensome for candidates and parties to source these for elections, before adding that the practice was archaic.

“We have to do away with all this. We are the only country among developed countries that is still overusing banners and posters during elections. 

“We are going to recommend that in the future, there should be no more poster battles or poster walls,” he told a press conference after attending the ERC’s stakeholder engagement programme held at the mentri besar’s official residence here. 

Abdul Rashid also said that the posters and banners caused additional problems due to their placement and reiterated that the practice was absent in developed nations.

However, he said that the committee will also suggest that an exception be made for rural areas that might not have adequate access to candidate information.

Flags and banners of political parties are seen in Labuan ahead of the 14th general election. ― Bernama pic
Flags and banners of political parties are seen in Labuan ahead of the 14th general election. ― Bernama pic

Separately, Abdul Rashid also said they will suggest the government teach students about the voting system from the primary level.

“If we wait until the students go to secondary school or university, it will be too late already, especially with the 18-year-old automatic voting system coming into effect. We should teach them since young,” he said.

He cited Australia that teaches children about voting rights and powers from young, effectively equipping them to participate in elections once they turn 18.

However, he said it was the duty of all Malaysians to teach the young about democracy and polls.

When asked if the proposal could be introduced in time for the Sarawak state election due by 2021, he said he could not guarantee this.

The ERC will submit its interim report on reforms, suggestions and proposals gathered from stakeholders to the government after its final engagement in Sarawak this month, he said.

“After reviewing the interim report with the ERC members, we will prepare a special report which will be submitted to the government next September,” he said. 

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