Malaysia to vote on May 9

Malaysia’s closely-watched 14th general elections will be held on May 9, the Election Commission announced on April 10. This means that polling will fall on a Wednesday, unlike past elections. Nomination day for candidates will be on April 28, after which parties can begin campaigning for eleven days, the minimum campaigning period required by law.

The decision to hold the election on a weekday has been met with criticism. It marks the first time Malaysia is holding its polls on a weekday in almost 20 years. The last time the country held polls on a weekday was in 1999.

Opposition member Wan Saiful Wan Jan called the weekday polling date “another attempt by Prime Minister Najib Razak and [his party] UMNO to steal the election”. Others alleged that UMNO wanted a low turnout because they knew a large number of voters are not with them.

About 14.9 million people are eligible to vote this year. However, a mid-week elections makes it difficult for those working abroad to cast their ballot without leaving their workplaces and traveling back home. The Election Commission had said in January that Malaysians residing in neighbouring countries and areas like Singapore, South Thailand, Brunei and Kalimantan, Indonesia, are not eligible to vote by post and must return to Malaysia to partake in the election.

It is also going to affect turnout in the country’s less-developed states like Kelantan, Sabah and Sarawak because voters registered there often live and work in urban centers of Peninsular Malaysia.

The election is widely expected to become a challenge for the ruling coalition Barisan Nasional led by Najib Razak, which is seeking to regain the two-thirds majority it first lost in the 2008 polls. In 2013, it won a simple majority of 133 out of 222 parliamentary seats.

Barisan Nasional this time has to contend with opposition coalition Pakatan Harapan, chaired by Malaysia’s former prime minister of more than two decades and fierce Najib critic Mahathir Mohamad.

Mahathir will be contesting under the banner of his former rival Anwar Ibrahim’s party, Parti Keadilan Rakyat, after his own party, Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia, was provisionally disbanded for formal reasons a day before parliament was dissolved on April 7.

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Malaysia’s closely-watched 14th general elections will be held on May 9, the Election Commission announced on April 10. This means that polling will fall on a Wednesday, unlike past elections. Nomination day for candidates will be on April 28, after which parties can begin campaigning for eleven days, the minimum campaigning period required by law.

Malaysia’s closely-watched 14th general elections will be held on May 9, the Election Commission announced on April 10. This means that polling will fall on a Wednesday, unlike past elections. Nomination day for candidates will be on April 28, after which parties can begin campaigning for eleven days, the minimum campaigning period required by law.

The decision to hold the election on a weekday has been met with criticism. It marks the first time Malaysia is holding its polls on a weekday in almost 20 years. The last time the country held polls on a weekday was in 1999.

Opposition member Wan Saiful Wan Jan called the weekday polling date “another attempt by Prime Minister Najib Razak and [his party] UMNO to steal the election”. Others alleged that UMNO wanted a low turnout because they knew a large number of voters are not with them.

About 14.9 million people are eligible to vote this year. However, a mid-week elections makes it difficult for those working abroad to cast their ballot without leaving their workplaces and traveling back home. The Election Commission had said in January that Malaysians residing in neighbouring countries and areas like Singapore, South Thailand, Brunei and Kalimantan, Indonesia, are not eligible to vote by post and must return to Malaysia to partake in the election.

It is also going to affect turnout in the country’s less-developed states like Kelantan, Sabah and Sarawak because voters registered there often live and work in urban centers of Peninsular Malaysia.

The election is widely expected to become a challenge for the ruling coalition Barisan Nasional led by Najib Razak, which is seeking to regain the two-thirds majority it first lost in the 2008 polls. In 2013, it won a simple majority of 133 out of 222 parliamentary seats.

Barisan Nasional this time has to contend with opposition coalition Pakatan Harapan, chaired by Malaysia’s former prime minister of more than two decades and fierce Najib critic Mahathir Mohamad.

Mahathir will be contesting under the banner of his former rival Anwar Ibrahim’s party, Parti Keadilan Rakyat, after his own party, Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia, was provisionally disbanded for formal reasons a day before parliament was dissolved on April 7.

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