Malaysia elections: Lower turnout, not enough voting stations

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Malaysia’s 14th general elections ended at 5pm Malaysian time on May 9, with many voters complaining about logistical problems such as too few polling stations and the inconvenience that the elections were being held on a weekday.

Voters were not allowed to cast ballots after 5pm even if they stood waiting in a queue at polling places. It is unclear how many voters have been affected, but opposition leader Mahathir Mohamad said he received reports about “a large number of people” being rejected and criticised the election commission for not providing enough polling stations.

Observers also noted that the decision to hold the election midweek was another – probably the main – factor for a turnout falling from 2013 as some people wouldn’t have been able to make it from their hometowns to vote, particularly among the half million Malaysians who work in neighbouring Singapore.

Malaysia’s Merdeka Opinion Center said the final voter turnout was likely lower than the record 85 per cent in 2013 but still high compared with earlier elections. The center’s program director Ibrahim Suffian said turnout may be about 80 per cent or in the high 70s after the election commission said it was 69 per cent as of 3pm on voting day. A lower turnout is seen as favouring the ruling party.

Analysts said that Prime Minister Najib Razak’s ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition, in power since Malaysia’s independence from Britain in 1957, might lose the popular vote for a second consecutive election since 2013 despite making last minute promises of waiving income tax for people up to the age of 26 and adding two public holidays during Ramadan. But BN could still win a majority of seats in parliament due to an electoral system that gives more power to rural Malays, its traditional supporters.

However, according to latest surveys from May 8, BN could just take up to 100 seats out of the 222 up for grabs in the parliament, falling short of a clear majority win.

First results are expected at midnight today.

 

 

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Reading Time: 2 minutes

Malaysia’s 14th general elections ended at 5pm Malaysian time on May 9, with many voters complaining about logistical problems such as too few polling stations and the inconvenience that the elections were being held on a weekday.

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Malaysia’s 14th general elections ended at 5pm Malaysian time on May 9, with many voters complaining about logistical problems such as too few polling stations and the inconvenience that the elections were being held on a weekday.

Voters were not allowed to cast ballots after 5pm even if they stood waiting in a queue at polling places. It is unclear how many voters have been affected, but opposition leader Mahathir Mohamad said he received reports about “a large number of people” being rejected and criticised the election commission for not providing enough polling stations.

Observers also noted that the decision to hold the election midweek was another – probably the main – factor for a turnout falling from 2013 as some people wouldn’t have been able to make it from their hometowns to vote, particularly among the half million Malaysians who work in neighbouring Singapore.

Malaysia’s Merdeka Opinion Center said the final voter turnout was likely lower than the record 85 per cent in 2013 but still high compared with earlier elections. The center’s program director Ibrahim Suffian said turnout may be about 80 per cent or in the high 70s after the election commission said it was 69 per cent as of 3pm on voting day. A lower turnout is seen as favouring the ruling party.

Analysts said that Prime Minister Najib Razak’s ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition, in power since Malaysia’s independence from Britain in 1957, might lose the popular vote for a second consecutive election since 2013 despite making last minute promises of waiving income tax for people up to the age of 26 and adding two public holidays during Ramadan. But BN could still win a majority of seats in parliament due to an electoral system that gives more power to rural Malays, its traditional supporters.

However, according to latest surveys from May 8, BN could just take up to 100 seats out of the 222 up for grabs in the parliament, falling short of a clear majority win.

First results are expected at midnight today.

 

 

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