Fewer than 110,000 people in Sarawak registered as new voters in first 6 months of 2015
Abdul Aziz (second right) presents a file containing guidelines to a participant of the briefing and training session yesterday. Takun is at right. — Photo by Chimon Upon
KUCHING: Sarawakians who are eligible to vote but have yet to register themselves have been advised to do so by next month.
Election Commission (EC) chairman Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof said they might be able to cast their votes if the 11th state election is held in April next year.
This is because if the election, which must be called by June 19 next year, is held in April, the EC might use the name list gazetted in the last quarter of this year (October to December).
On new voters, he said yesterday that the state registered less than 10 per cent of the 1.1 million registered voters in the state in the first six months of this year (Jan–June 2015).
Abdul Aziz said although EC would not know when the state election would be called, what was certain was that it would be held soon; therefore, Sarawakians should not wait until the last minute to register themselves as voters.
“It is very typical of Malaysians. They will wait until the last minute to register themselves as voters. They should understand that if they do that, their names may not be in the registered voters list because the whole registration process will take five months,” he told reporters after delivering a keynote address at an EC briefing cum training session for returning officers and assistant returning officers here.
He said for the coming state polls, 27 returning officers had been appointed for Kuching, Sibu (24), Miri (18) and Sri Aman (13). The EC would be in Sri Aman from Nov 17–18, Sibu (Nov 18–19) and Miri (Nov 19–20) to conduct similar briefings and training sessions.
Abdul Aziz said about 220,000 people would be voting in new constituencies. This follows the addition of 11 new constituencies and on the assumption that each of these constituencies had about 20,000 voters.
Participants at the EC briefing and training session in Kuching yesterday.
Abdul Aziz (left) explaining a point to reporters during the press conference.
The 11 new state seats are Gedong, Kabong, Telian, Stakan, Selirik, Samalaju, Murum, Long Lama, Serumbu, Triboh, and Batu Kitang.
“With the addition of 11 new constituencies, Sarawak will be having 82 constituencies in the 11th State Election, compared to only 71 in the 10th State Election (in 2011).”
Although the EC had not had the latest figures on the number of postal voters and those who would be voting earlier, Abdul Aziz said based on the figures in the last state election, there were about 24,000 early voters, while 107 voters opted for postal voting.
“Those who are allowed to vote early are the ones like Armed Forces and police personnel, EC staff and media practitioners who cannot vote as they are working outstation during polling day. They will still have to apply to vote earlier.”
For the coming state election, he said EC would need about 15,000 people and RM180 million.
“Currently, EC is still in the process of planning the type of logistics required and other needs, especially the number of helicopters required.
“Based on past experiences in Sarawak, we need to use a lot of helicopters because there are certain areas that we have no choice but to use helicopters. In certain areas, helicopters have to leave the places before a certain time.”
Among those present at the EC briefing and training session was state EC director Datu Takun Sunggah.