Candidates' agents now allowed to monitor postal voters

By Mazlinda Mahmood

20 February, 2008
For the first time, agents of candidates will be allowed to monitor the polling of postal voters at police stations and army camps in the 12th general election. The Election Commission decided on the move as the answer to claims of a lack of transparency in the casting of votes by police personnel and servicemen.
One agent from each candidate contesting will be allowed into the polling stations. They can stay for a minimum of two hours but those who exit earlier would not be allowed reentry.
“If a party has two candidates, one each for parliament and state seat, two agents will be allowed,” said Kelantan EC director Ab Rahim Md Salleh told a press conference here today.
Ab Rahim said the state had 22,404 postal voters for the upcoming election, comprising 11,241 members of the police and army and 11,163 election staff.
He said the postal voting would be carried out as early as March 3 or 4.
“Election staff, including temporary workers, are encouraged to cast their votes through postal voting as we do not want them to abandon their posts during the election to return to their constituencies to vote.”
Ab Rahim, however, said those wanting to cast their votes the normal way would not be stopped.
He said the EC had also formed special squads with members from the police, contesting parties and local authorities, to monitor campaign materials and ceramah during the election.
The squads, which will work around the clock, are authorised to remove offensive posters and stop rallies which go on beyond midnight.