Changes to election procedures will take time, says EC

A by-election is to be held in Chini, Pahang, on July 4.

PUTRAJAYA: The Election Commission is reviewing a proposal not to limit acceptance of the nomination of election candidates to only one day, and for the process to be implemented online.

EC chairman Azhar Harun said the proposed changes would involve amendments to existing electoral laws and regulations.

“We want to do that but the problem is that the current legal framework for nomination is only one day and one hour from 9am to 10am, then the announcement is expected at 11am,” he said. “The nomination cannot be carried out via online because under the existing legal framework the candidate or proposer or seconder must bring a hard copy of the nomination form.

“Therefore, we are reviewing the proposal and taking some time as we have to amend these laws and regulations.”

Various parties have suggested that nomination procedures and schedules be changed because of new hygiene and safety protocols to stop the Covid-19 outbreak.

Azhar said that in several by-elections before, the EC had allowed candidates to obtain nomination forms in advance to facilitate the process.

“We encourage candidates to go to the state election office to fill out the forms and pay the deposit in advance and check the forms to ensure everything is correct. So, on nomination day it would be just for formality, the candidate would just come and submit the form to the returning officer for checking and the candidate would then be declared eligible for contest,” he said.

A by-election is to be held for the Chini state constituency in Pahang, the first since the Covid-19 pandemic began. Nomination day is June 20, with early voting on June 30 and polling on July 4.

The by-election was called following the death of assemblyman Abu Bakar Harun from a heart attack on May 6.

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