The Election Commission (EC) had said 85 per cent out of 14,968,304 registered voters as of 2017, are expected to come out to cast their ballot papers at polling centres nationwide in the 14th General Election (GE14).
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A total of 222 parliamentary and 505 state seats are being contested by giants Barisan Nasional, Pas, parties running under PKR’s ticket – DAP, PKR, Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM), Parti Amanah Negara (Amanah) – and a slew of independents who are also trying their luck under various logos such as teacups and elephants.
Today, voters will decide on the fate of 687 candidates vying for the parliamentary seats and 1,646 running for the state seats.
The total number of candidates both seats have increased by 20 per cent compared to GE13.
Voters will cast their ballots at 8,989 polling centres which contain a total of 28,995 polling streams.
At the time of the parliament’s dissolution on April 7, BN held 132 seats, DAP 36; PKR, 28; Pas, 13; PAN 7; Parti Warisan Sabah, 2; Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) and PPBM, one each; and independents two.
Political analyst Prof Dr Sivamurugan Pandian described the GE14 campaign period as the most challenging and colourful compared to previous electoral seasons.
“Every candidate stands an equal chance of winning. It is one of the most heated campaign periods in the country’s history with large turnouts at political events throughout the country, although such presence do not necessarily determine the winning votes.
“GE14 has the most number of candidates vying for seats. Voters are the real kingmakers now,” he said.
The journey to polling day was not without its hiccups for a few, especially for the opposition pact. Its race into GE14 got off to a bumpy start due to a string of blunders that saw a number of candidates rejected on nomination day, the closure of several operations centres, and the exodus of rank-and-file members crossing over to BN.
The use of PKR as its rallying logo was also criticised by respective pact allies especially DAP, whose grassroots members were vocal against its implementation.
Former DAP National Vice-Chairman Tunku Abdul Aziz said the move had created a serious political dilemma for the party as their traditional hardcore Chinese voters were unable to identify themselves with the PKR logo.
Over in East Malaysia, the absence of Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad during the campaign period in Sabah and Sarawak is due to the prevailing ‘anti-Mahathir’ sentiment in both states.
Universiti Malaysia Sarawak’s Assoc Prof Dr Jeniri Amir had said the veteran leader realised that the policies he implemented while helming the federal government had left both states at a disadvantage, other than being seen as having ‘denied’ them special privileges stipulated in the Malaysia Agreement 1963.
Umno, which is leading BN’s charge in the campaign, also recorded casualties when the party sacked veterans Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz and Tun Daim Zainuddin for openly supporting the opposition.
Last week, the EC said a total of 278,590 early voters, including police, military, general operations force personnel and their spouses, were expected to cast their ballots.
They were among a total of 300,255 registered early voters. The remaining 21,665 were postal voters.
The EC said for early voters, 585 polling centres with 910 voting channels were opened and handled by 6,376 election officers.
The ballot papers would only be tabulated today at 4pm.
Today’s polls would feature more than 60 straight fights at both parliamentary and state seats, three-cornered fights at more than 400 seats, four-way fights in 76 seats, five-cornered battles in 21 seats.
Three state seats will also involve a six-cornered fight.
The oldest candidate in GE14 is 92-years-old for the parliamentary seat, while the oldest state seat candidate is 78-years-old. The youngest candidate for parliamentary seats is 22-years-old, and 23 for state seats.
A total of 1,236 election observers from 14 non-governmental organisations have been appointed to monitor the election process.
Full results are expected to be announced at 9pm tonight.
Voters can look up information on their polling stations and channels via the EC’s website at www.spr.gov.my, the ‘MySPR Semak’ mobile application, call 03-88927018 or send a text message to 15888.
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