PUTRAJAYA (Feb 13, 2009): The Election Commission has decided that polling for the Bukit Gantang parliamentary and Bukit Selambau state by-elections will be held simultaneously on April 7. It also fixed March 29 for nominations, allowing nine days for campaigning in the event of contests.
EC chairman Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof, in announcing this a special meeting to discuss the by-election dates at the EC headquarters, said the decision to have simultaneous polling was made for security reasons and to avoid long campaining.
The Bukit Gantang seat in Perak fell vacant after incumbent Roslan Shaharum of PAS died of a heart attack on Monday. On the same day, V. Arumugam of Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) resigned as Bukit Selambau member in the Pakatan Rakyat-controlled Kedah assembly.
“When the campaigning is too long, all sorts of issues will crop up and this can cause public anxiety and may also threaten public order or security in certain areas or national security. The EC is also thinking of the parties that are campaigning. We don’t want them to campaign for too long because it will cause fatigue,” Abdul Aziz told a news conference to announce the by-election dates.
Asked whether the dates were chosen to accommodate the Umno general assembly on March 24-28, Abdul Aziz said “Not at all.”
On the resignation of Arumugam, he said the EC confirmed the resignation after studying the notice from the Kedah assembly speaker informing it of the vacancy and the documents attached to the notice, information from the Kedah legal advisor and the legal views of the Attorney-General’s Chambers.
“All the documents were valid and genuine and there were no doubts,” he said. There have been reports that certain quarters had questioned the validity of Arumugam’s resignation as assemblyman, especially when he had made him unavailable after filing his letters.
He also said the EC had agreed to the formation of three enforcement teams, each comprising an enforcement officer, a police officer, a representative of the local authority and the candidates’ representatives, to monitor the campaigning and the putting up of campaign materials.
The EC had also agreed to allow the Malaysia For Free and Fair Election (MAFREL) movement to be observers in the by-elections, he added.
> the writs for the by-elections will be issued on Feb 16 and and the notices on Feb 17.
> the electoral roll to be used will be the Master Electoral Roll 2007 which has been merged with the supplementary electoral rolls for the first, second and third quarters of 2008.
> there are 55,562 registered voters in the Bukit Gantang constituency comprising 55,426 ordinary voters and 136 postal voters while Bukit Selambau has 35,140 registered voters — 35,125 ordinary and 15 postal.
> the electoral rolls without polling streams will be on sale from Feb 21 and those with polling streams on Feb 25.
> there will be 32 polling centres and 111 polling streams in Bukit Gantang and 22 polling centres and 64 polling streams in Bukit Selambau.
> the nomination and vote-counting centres for Bukit Gantang will be at the Taiping Municipal Town Hall while the centres for Bukit Selambau will be at Sekolah Menengah Teknik Satu, Sungai Petani.
> Voters can check their polling centres at the EC web site at www.spr.gov.my of via SMS from Feb 25 by typing SPR <space> IC number and sending to 15888.
They can also call the EC headquarters in Putrajaya and the Perak and Kedah state election offices. – Bernama
Bukit Gantang, Bukit Selambau go to the polls April 7