EC targets 70pc voter turnout in Sarawak poll

A general view of the Election Commission headquarters in Putrajaya, March 29, 2021. — Bernama pic
A general view of the Election Commission headquarters in Putrajaya, March 29, 2021. — Bernama pic

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KUCHING, Nov 25 — The Election Commission (EC) targets 70 per cent voter turnout for the 12th Sarawak state election, said its chairman Datuk Abdul Ghani Salleh.

However, the standard operating procedures (SOPs) for the upcoming election is not ready yet as they are still being finalised, he said.

He explained the SOPs, meant to curb the spread of Covid-19, are still being updated by the Ministry of Health (MoH), National Security Council (MKN), the Royal Malaysian Police (PDRM) and the Sarawak Disaster Management Committee (SDMC).

“The guidelines (for the state election) will be made known to the public once already finalised,” he said in a statement after chairing a special meeting on the 12th State Election yesterday.

When questioned by the media after the event, Abdul Ghani said EC is confident the 70 per cent voter turnout target can be achieved.

Boleh boleh (it can be achieved). Sarawakians are good people,” he said.

He, however, refused to comment further, saying more statements will be issued soon.

In the statement, Abdul Ghani also said in the effort to encourage voters to come out and exercise their voting rights on the polling day, the EC will implement the ‘Jom Kita Undi’ (Let’s Vote) campaign through various media platforms.

He mentioned that this campaign will be made through the electronic media, social media, public announcements and placement of banners at strategic locations in public areas.

“The EC also calls for cooperation from everyone including the media agencies and political parties to also play their part in encouraging voters to come out and vote,” he said.

On a related matter, he informed that several improvements are now being made by EC such as abolishing some of the eligibility requirements for overseas postal voters.

He said the abolishment of requirements include Malaysians who are living in Southern Thailand (Narathiwat, Pattani, Yala, Songkhla and Satun), Singapore, Brunei and Kalimantan, Indonesia; and have returned to Malaysia less than 30 days before the dissolution of the State Legislative Assembly.

He also said EC will be providing a special voting stream for voters aged over 60 years at all voting centres.

“The time for voting is being extended by 30 minutes, which is now from 7.30am to 5pm compared to previous hours of 8am to 5pm.

“Voters who are disabled (OKU) will vote in voting stream 1. A total of 13,871 OKU voters have been identified, who are registered with the Social Welfare Department (JKM),” he added.

Meanwhile, a ceremony to hand over election writs and appointment letters to all 82 returning officers was held after the press conference.

Also present were State Secretary Datuk Amar Jaul Samion and EC Sarawak director Jasni Jubli. — Borneo Post

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