PUTRAJAYA – The Election Commission (EC) welcomes the announcement by the government that May 9, which is polling day for the 14th General Election, has been fixed as a public holiday to enable Malaysians to fulfill their responsibility as voters.
In a statement issued today, EC chairman Tan Sri Mohd Hashim Abdullah pointed out that having the general election on May 9, which falls on Wednesday and a working day, is nothing new.
He said that the GE records earlier showed that the polls had been held on several occasions on working days, that is the first general election (GE1) in 1959, GE 6 (1982), GE 9 (1995) and GE 10 (1999).
“So, with the announcement of the public holiday, it should not become an issue,”he said.
The EC has fixed polling day for the GE14 on May 9, the nomination day on April 28, while early voting is fixed for May 5.
Mohd Hashim said the early announcement on the date of the GE14 also enabled the voters to have adequate time to plan their journeys.
In line with the announcement of the holiday by the government, Mohd Hashim reminded employers who continued to have their operations on polling day that they were required to give ample time to the working voters to go out to cast their ballots.
He quoted the provision under Sub-section 25 (1) of the Election Offences Act 1954.
“25 (1) Every employer must, on polling day, allow a reasonable period for each voter who are under their employment to vote, and no employer can make any salary deduction from the voters or to claim any penalty or claim on the worker concerned for being absent from work on the polling day.
According to him, any employer refusing their voting employee to go out to cast their ballots could be fined up to RM5,000 or one year’s imprisonment as provided under sub-section 25 (3) of the Election Offences Act 1954.
Mohd Hashim meanwhile urged and encouraged the employers to use their discretion to grant a special leave to their employees who were appointed as GE14 workers. – BERNAMA