EC against year-end polls due to monsoon

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 21 — With the monsoon season starting, the Election Commission has advised Putrajaya against holding the 14th general elections at the end of the year.

However, its chairman Tan Sri Mohd Hashim Abdullah said the commission is ready to hold elections in any weather, even if it had to deal with the storms that lashed the country during the November 29, 1999 general elections, The Star daily reported today.

“If the election is held during the monsoon season, how secure will our equipment, including ballot papers and ballot boxes, be?

“Are our stores on high ground? What happens if a polling centre gets flooded? What alternatives are in place? Do we have suitable tents ready to serve as polling centre? We are now resolving all these issues,” he was quoted saying.

But Mohd Hashim also said that the EC is well prepared should the prime minister announce Parliament’s dissolution — which would pave the way for the 14th general elections — any time from now.

He added that the EC has trained 230,000 election workers.

The commission is also considering the usage of mobile ballot boxes in the next polls to reach voters with mobility issues in villages or flats.

Mohd Hashim said this system would allow such voters to be included in postal votes and would ultimately be useful for senior citizens, disabled and those living in rural areas.

The EC has allocated a budget of RM450 million to conduct the polls, Mohd Hashim added.

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