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‘Can I vote early?’ and nine other GE14 questions you’re too shy to ask

The Election Commission (EC) announced today that nomination day will be on April 28, early voting on May 5, and voting proper on May 9. ― Picture by Choo Choy May
The Election Commission (EC) announced today that nomination day will be on April 28, early voting on May 5, and voting proper on May 9. ― Picture by Choo Choy May

PETALING JAYA, April 10 — Do you have burning questions about the election on May 9 but are not sure where to begin or afraid you might look silly asking them?

From what to wear on polling day to selfie concerns, this list might help.

But first, mark your calendar. The Election Commission (EC) announced today that nomination day will be on April 28, early voting on May 5, and voting proper on May 9.

1. I can’t make it on Wednesday. Can I vote early on May 5 instead?

No, you cannot. Only members of the armed forces, police officers and their spouses are eligible.

For postal voting, only those who qualify as absentee voters — Malaysians living abroad who are not able to return home to vote, civil servants from selected categories and members of the media — can do so, but only after applying with the EC.

2. Can party candidates cast votes?

Yes, Malaysian citizens aged 21 and above who have never been barred or disqualified by any laws in force can vote.

If you are wondering if politicians vote for themselves, we can assume it is for themselves or the party they represent, seeing that everyone’s vote is confidential.

3. I already have a holiday planned. What can I do?

Carriers like AirAsia, Malindo Air, Malaysia Airlines, Firefly and Cathay Pacific have announced that they will waive flight change fees for the affected dates. Check with your respective airline and accommodation provider.

4. Can I take a selfie or wefie when I vote?

Feeling proud after casting your vote and want to share it on social media? Wait until you leave the polling station.

You are not allowed to use mobile phones to make calls, send messages or snap pictures inside the voting centre.

5. How long must I wait before casting my vote?

It depends on your area. It is best to arrive as early as possible. Bring a snack and bottled water in case you get hungry or thirsty and a book to kill time while standing in line.

6. I have been given multiple ballot papers or a faulty ballot paper. What should I do?

Make sure you have only one authorised ballot paper when voting. If you are given two ballot papers at the polling centre, immediately return the extra piece to the nearest EC official.

Taking a ballot paper, whether deliberate or by accident, is illegal as stated in the Election Offences Act 1954. The penalty is imprisonment of up to two years or a fine of no more than RM5,000, and you won’t be able to vote for a period of five years.

7. Can I wear that cool ‘Che Det’ tee?

A comfortable outfit that is neutral is your best bet. The key here is to avoid attracting suspicion and possibly trouble — that loud top that screams ‘Look at me!’ can stay home.

Do not wear clothing that has a candidate’s name, or symbol or logo of any political party. You can be imprisoned for up to a year or fined RM5,000, or both for such an offence.

8. Can I get a manicure?

Preferably, come with clean nails. The left index finger will be dipped in indelible ink to identify those who have voted. You would not want to mess up your manicure, would you?

Also, EC officials will be inspecting your fingers so keep nails clean to avoid grossing people out.

9. What should I do if I spot something amiss?

If you come across any problems, irregularities or suspicious characters at the polling centre, speak to an EC official.

10. A nice man just offered me food and drinks. Should I accept?

Never ever accept food, drinks, refreshments or any treats before, during and after voting. The Election Offences Act 1954 states that accepting possibly corrupt tokens falls under the illegal act of Treating.

Because it is difficult to determine the intention of those who offer you, say, a cupcake or a bottle of water, it is best to just say no. You can be imprisoned for up to two years or fined no more than RM5,000, and you won’t be able to vote for a period of five years.

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