Saturday, May 4, 2013

EC expects 85pc turnout

Preparations taking place at the ballot counting centre in Shah Alam yesterday, which will receive ballot boxes from 388 voting centres today.

A HIGH voter turnout is expected for the most-anticipated election in Malaysian history.

Election Commission deputy chairman Datuk Wan Ahmad Wan Omar said the EC expects a 75 to 85 per cent voter turnout across the country.

"We are confident that the turnout will be higher than in 2008, especially for urban constituencies in all states," he said, adding that there were many party supporters, and even members of non-governmental organisations actively involved in getting voters to fulfil their responsibility.

Universiti Sains Malaysia political analyst Associate Professor Dr Sivamurugan Pandian said looking at the trend in the last 15 days and excitement shown by voters, especially on social media, he expected a high turnout, especially in hot seats, such as Gelang Patah, Sungai Siput, Lembah Pantai, Permatang Pauh and Tasik Gelugor.

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He added that the 17 seats won on a slim margin of fewer than 1,000 votes in the 2008 election might also see high turnout.

Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia political analyst Prof Datuk Dr Agus Yusof said a high turnout was likely as many young and new voters would vote, even in rural areas.

"Many young voters have discussed and read about the scenario in the country and they are eager to vote," he said.

Barisan Nasional information and publicity bureau head Datuk Ahmad Maslan said a high voter turnout would be to BN's advantage and it expected close to 80 per cent of its supporters to vote.

"A high voter turnout will be good for BN because we have more supporters than the opposition. If 80 per cent of our supporters vote, I am confident we will win."

On how to convince them to come out to vote, Ahmad said:

"Well, this is D-Day and I am sure they know the importance of this election.

"Even in Pontian, I see that many people have returned to vote with heavy traffic all around the area.

"Besides, this only happens every five years and it is one of the most important general elections."

Opposition parties are also expecting a bigger turnout, especially among the younger voters.

Pas treasurer and central committee member Dr Mohd Hatta Ramli said Pas had been reaching out to younger voters throughout the country through nightly ceramah.

"We have been going out in groups to reach out to younger voters. In Kelantan, we are seeing busloads and cars full of younger voters coming back to cast their votes, which resulted in jams in the Gua Musang road the last few days," said Hatta, the former Kuala Krai member of parliament.

DAP is also confident of a higher turnout among the younger generation.

Party vice-chairman Dr Tan Seng Giaw said the younger voters were expected to influence results of the 13th General Election because they were politically aware.

As for PKR, the more younger voters turn up to vote, the better it would be.

PKR secretary-general Datuk Saifuddin Nasution Ismail said this was because a larger turnout would favour Pakatan.

"But if fewer voters turned up, it will spell trouble for the opposition. Having said that, we expect more first time and younger voters at the 13th General Election because these people are well informed and they want to see change happening," said Saifuddin Nasution, who is contesting the Kulim-Bandar Baru parliamentary seat. Additional reporting by Devinder Singh, Shanti Gunaratnam and Zulita Mustafa

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