EC To Be Ready By End-November To Conduct Next General Election

PUTRAJAYA, Oct 29 (Bernama) –– The Election Commission (EC) expects to be ready by the end of November to conduct the next general election, EC Chairman Tan Sri Abdul Rashid Abdul Rahman said Monday.

“We have identified the returning officers, and the briefing for these officers and their assistants will begin on Nov 15,” he said.
The despatch to every state of election materials, including the indelible ink to be used on voters for the first time, was going on and the process was expected to be completed by the end of next month, he told reporters after attending the EC Aidilfitri reception here.
Abdul Rashid said he met Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi last month and informed him that the EC would be ready by November to conduct the next general election, which is not due until March 2009.
He also said that the EC would come out with guidelines soon on election posters, which will do away with the poster war and ensure that candidates do not have to fight for space to put up their posters.
He said the guidelines would also cover party flags and all election campaign material, and that the EC would hold sessions to explain the guidelines to political parties.
The guidelines will specify the number of posters and the places where they can be put up, and ensure that all quarters get to put up their posters.
“You don’t have to fight for space any more because the local authority will provide the space. If there are two contestants or three contestants, every contestant will have space made available,” he said.
Asked about opposition parties predicting that the next general election would be held next month or in December, Abdul Rashid said their statements could be based on the EC’s preparations which were almost complete.
On the more than 22,000 voters whose names were not in the database of the National Registration Department (JPN), he said more than 6,000 had been identified by the JPN, and the EC was looking for the remaining 16,000 nationwide.
“We will continue with our search, but only in the country. I’m giving the secretariat about two months and I think once the period is over we will decide what to do,” he said.