KUALA LUMPUR, March 7 — The Election Commission (EC) should institute a minimum campaign period of 21 days, Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail proposed today.
The Permatang Pauh MP said this was necessary to allow candidates and parties to effectively reach voters for the 14th general election.
Citing Article 55 (4) of the Federal Constitution that allows for 60 days after the dissolution of Parliament before polls must be held, she said there was no reason to restrict the campaign length.
“For GE14, I would like to suggest for the EC to consider to set a minimum of 21 days for campaigning to allow candidates and parties to approach the voters,” said Dr Wan Azizah when debating the royal address in Dewan Rakyat.
She noted that during the general elections in 1959, 1964 and 1969, campaigns had run for at least 35 days.
This was reduced to 16 days in 1974 and shortened again when Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad first sought his mandate in 1982 to 15 days.
The Mahathir administration again cut this further to just 10 days in the three general elections after that.
“The duration was shortened to nine days in 1999, and eight days in 2004, which was the shortest period in the GE history,” she said.
In 2008 under the Abdullah administration, the campaign period was again raised to 13 days.
In Election 2013, when Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak sought his first mandate, the EC declared a campaign period of 15 days.