Saturday March 2, 2013
Some time before everything done
By NIGEL EDGAR
KUCHING: Despite rumours and speculations that the 13th general election may come as early as the first or second week of this month, it seems that preparations by the Election Commission (EC) are still incomplete.
State EC director Datuk Takun Sunggah told The Star yesterday that the latest electoral roll, list of all polling stations, nomination centres and tallying centres were not yet ready.
“It would take some time. It won’t be that soon,” he said when asked when the papers would be ready.
Even the final list of BN candidates and manifesto have not been made known yet.
There were also rumours circulating that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak might see the King and dissolve the Parliament by this weekend, and polling would be at the end of this month.
Dewan Rakyat Deputy Speaker Datuk Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar said that Parliament was unlikely to meet this month due to the insufficient notice given to MPs.
“Parliament is usually scheduled to sit in March and before we set the actual date, we would receive a list of government agendas, such as Bills to be debated or motions on specific issues.
“So far, there are no government agendas sent to Parliament,” he said on Feb 26.
The Parliament would automatically be dissolved on April 28.
Once dissolved, the EC must call for an election within 60 days.
EC chairman Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Yusof last month said the general election would be one of the best run in the country’s history because a number of recommendations aimed at improving the process would be implemented on polling day.
“I intend to make the 13th general election the best election.
“Although it has been said that this will be the hottest or most crucial election, it is impossible that it will be the worst or dirtiest,” he said.
The recommendations included the use of indelible ink to prevent multiple voting, advanced voting instead of postal voting for military and police personnel, postal voting for Malaysians overseas, fair access to the media for all political parties, a minimum campaign period of 11 days, doing away with the objection and withdrawal period for candidates and extending the display of the electoral roll from seven to 14 days.
In Sarawak, the total number of voters as of the third quarter last year is 1,069,654.
Abdul Aziz also said the EC had allocated RM78mil for the election in Sarawak out of RM400mil for the country.
He said 56% of the budget would be for hiring helicopters, boats and vehicles, 23% for food and 18% for allowances and claims.
“In Sarawak, we will use 780 boats, 56 speedboats, 4,810 four-wheel drive vehicles, 27 helicopters and two small fixed-wing aircraft.
“We will also have 22,601 election workers, including 31 returning officers, 122 assistant returning officers and 65 election enforcement team leaders,” he said.