Tuesday, April 9, 2013

GE13: EC: Workers must get time off to vote

Explaining in detail: Abdul Aziz speaking to the press after a briefing with foreign diplomats at Wisma Putra in Putrajaya.

Employers must give their staff time off to cast their vote if the 13th general election is held on a weekday, says Election Commission (EC) chairman Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof.

“If polling is not on a holiday, employers must release their staff so that they can go out and vote,” he said, adding that the law allowed for each and every eligible citizen to take off to cast their ballots.

Abdul Aziz said polling day for the 13th general election was not bound by previous trends and could be held on any day of the week.

He said this was covered by provisions under existing labour laws.

Polling day can fall on a weekday, but the commission will need to consider many factors.

“We don't want it to coincide with any cultural or religious events, or any major political event. We will also check with the Meteorological Department on the weather forecast.

“School holidays or whether it is a weekday are not really important considerations. We don't necessarily have to follow past trends,” he said at a press conference yesterday after briefing foreign diplomats on the coming general election.

The EC will meet at 10am today to discuss and finalise the dates for nomination and polling for both advance and ordinary voters.

It will also decide on the closing date for the electoral roll which will be used for the coming polls during the meeting.

Commenting on the briefing he had with foreign diplomats, Abdul Aziz said the EC would consider expanding the number of election observers in the future if it found that it could manage the 2,500 appointed for this elections.

He noted that this was the first time Malaysia had officially appointed election observers from five Asean member countries, the Asean secretariat and 17 local NGOs to oversee the polls.

“However, nobody can stop them (foreign diplomats) from observing the election process. They can do so right from nomination to polling and the announcement of the results. It's just that they cannot enter designated areas to observe the process more closely,” he said, referring to restricted areas such as counting centres.

On Opposition claims of a “dirty” electoral roll, Abdul Aziz said it was clean.

“There are no double registrations, no voters aged below 21, no dead people,” he said.

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