PETALING JAYA, April 10 — Setting polling day in the middle of the working week is a violation of voters’ right, Pakatan Harapan (PH) chairman Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad alleged today.
The former prime minister from 1981 to 2003 said the May 9 polls, which falls on a Wednesday this year, will make it very hard for outstation voters to return to their registered constituencies to cast their ballot.
“Instead of setting the date on a weekend, they fixed it on Wednesday, in the middle of the week. Most people working abroad cannot come back and this is one way to cheat voters of their rights to vote in the elections,” he told a news conference after chairing the PH presidential council meeting here.
“During my time, there was a time it was not at the end of the week but because it was on a holiday, so the date was fixed as such,” he added.
Dr Mahathir had, in fact, called for three general elections that were conducted on weekdays.
The first was in 1982 when he had sought his first mandate. Polling for that year ran from April 22 to 26, or from Thursday to Monday.
In the 1995 general election, polling was conducted over a Monday and Tuesday.
The 1999 general election also fell on a weekday, a Monday, but a national holiday was declared then.
Aside from criticising the polling date, Dr Mahathir also renewed his disapproval of the EC’s redelineation that is now in effect.
“A lot of funny things have been done and I am quite sure more funny things are in store,” he said.
After all his criticism of the polling date, however, Dr Mahathir insisted it would not affect the PH pact that he said was confident of winning federal power.
“As far as we are concerned, the time set for GE14 is OK for us. We will continue on with the campaign, and we will be able to defeat Barisan Nasional in this election.
“We will manage with the 11-day campaign I can be in three places at one time,” he said.
The EC declared this morning that nomination will fall on April 28, a Saturday, while polling will be conducted on May 9, with 11 days of official campaigning in between.
Voting for advance and postal voters will take place on May 5.