KUCHING, April 11 — A group called Rise of Sarawak Efforts (ROSE) has today advised Sarawakians working or studying in Singapore and Peninsular Malaysia to immediately make arrangement to fly home so they can vote on May 9.
Ann Teo, the chairperson of the group that registers new voters, said those working in other parts of the state should also make similar arrangement to return to their longhouses and villages where they can cast their votes at the respective polling stations.
“We, therefore, appeal to all employers in the private sector in particular those who have staff or workers who will need to ‘balik kampung’ in order to cast their vote to give them sufficient time off to go back to perform their civic duty as citizens in choosing the next or new government,” she said.
Teo said ROSE condemns the Election Commission’s (EC) decision to fix polling day on a working weekday, effectively disenfranchising voters especially those from Sabah and Sarawak.
“They have yet to give a cogent and credible reason for fixing the polling date on a mid-week,” she said, adding that such a move will discourage voter turnout.
Meanwhile, Parti Bansa Dayak Sarawak (PBDS Baru) Youth chief Rapelson Richard Hamit said he expected a low-voter turnout since polling day is a weekday and that people would find excuses to not come out and vote.
He, however, called on the public to come out in force full to exercise their constitutional rights.
“We must not be discouraged with the date of polling day, but consider it as a challenge to all of us who value our democratic rights,” he said.