Tuesday April 10, 2012
Changes to polling laws
Reports by MARTIN CARVALHO, YUEN MEIKENG and SHAUN HO
AMENDMENTS to electoral laws were tabled in Parliament to streamline and further improve the polling process.
Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Lui Vui Keong yesterday tabled the Election Offences 1954 (Amendment) Bill for first reading.
One of the changes is the removal of the mandatory requirement for the appointment of a polling or counting agent by a candidate’s election agent. The new law allows “the election agent to hire a political party office for the purpose and attend vote counting at polling station at a time appointed by the Election Commission to avoid overcrowding at the station.”
Also, any political party office may only be set up not less than 100m from the polling centre compared to the present 50m ruling.
Those convicted of breaching this may be liable to one year’s jail, a RM5,000 fine or both.
The proposed amendments also makes it an offence for any person on nomination day to wait or loiter within a distance of 100m or any distance determined by the EC from the place of nomination unless permitted
The changes will also see the term “casting his vote” changed to “to vote” to avoid the negative connotation arising from the Malay translation of membuang undi.