KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 4 — Voting hours have been extended for the 15th general election now that the voter pool has been enlarged enabling all Malaysians aged 18 and above to cast their ballots.
In a written parliamentary reply, de facto Law Minister Datuk Seri Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar said the extension of voting hours was one of several changes made by the Election Commission (EC) to improve efficiency and smoothen the polling process.
“The voting time will be extended by an hour, from 8am to 6pm in the peninsula and 7.30am to 5.30pm in Sabah and Sarawak.
“This extension will give voters more time to cast their ballots," he wrote in reply to Jerlun MP Datuk Seri Mukhriz Mahathir.
Wan Junaidi also said the EC has abolished certain conditions for postal voting. This means that all Malaysians living overseas aged 18 and above can register online to vote by post when registration opens.
“The terms for postal vote Category 1B (Overseas) as implemented in the 14th General Election has been abolished,” Wan Junaidi said.
Previously, only those who have lived in or returned to Malaysia for 30 days or more in the past five years, could apply for postal voting.
Those living in southern Thailand (Narathiwat, Pattani, Yala, Songkhla and Satun), Singapore, Brunei, or Kalimantan, also did not qualify for postal voting and had to come back to vote.
Wan Junaidi said the EC will open more voting channels after taking into account the larger number of potential voters turning out to cast their ballots to prevent congestion at voting centres nationwide.
He also said a special lane for voters aged 60 and above and the disabled will also be set up at voting centres, but will be limited to 450 voters.
The Undi18 Bill and automatic registration of voters were gazetted as law earlier this year.