Riot: Employers advised to allow workers to vote

Malaysia goes to the polls on May 9, a Wednesday. — AFP pic
Malaysia goes to the polls on May 9, a Wednesday. — AFP pic

KUALA LUMPUR, April 10 — Employers are asked to allow their workers to exercise their right to vote in the 14th general election (GE14) on May 9 which falls on Wednesday, said Human Resources Minister  Datuk Seri Richard Riot Jaem.

“Employers must allow their workers (to go out and vote). They must be given the opportunity,” he said when contacted by Bernama here today.

This is in line with the provisions of the Election Offences Act 1954 that required employers to allow their employees a reasonable period for voting.

Under Section 25(3) of the Election Offences Act 1954, any employers who refused to allow their workers to go out and vote on that day are liable to be fined not exceeding RM5,000 or an imprisonment of one year upon conviction.

Election Commission (EC) chairman Tan Sri Mohd Hashim Abdullah today announced that polling day for GE14 is on May 9, nomination day on April 28 and early voting on May 5.

Commenting on the polling date, Riot said the EC would have had its own reasons to choose that date.

Meanwhile Malaysian Employers Federation (MEF) vice president A Ramadass said the polling day on Wednesday would not cause any problems to employers or affect the operation of companies.

He said in respecting the rights of Malaysians, employers would give time off to employees to discharge their responsibility.

“It has indeed been accepted as a practice and it has also happened previously (polling on a working day). After all, it takes only a few hours to go to vote and then return to work,” he said.

However, for those who are voting in other states from the state they are employed, Ramadass said they should ask for leave to return to their respective constituencies.  

Voting on a working day is not a novelty for Malaysians but is it is not common. The GE was held on August 19, 1959, which was on a Wednesday while the sixth GE in 1982 was held on Thursday, April 22.

The ninth and 10th general elections also fell on Monday on April 25, 1995 and Nov 29,1999 respectively. — Bernama

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