Temperatures set to rise as Malaysia gets ready for polls

United Malays National Organisation’s sources said the party’s “top five” tasked with vetting the candidates’ list are still working on it, with different levels of screenings being done.

Mazwin Nik Anis and Rahimy Rahim

Mazwin Nik Anis and Rahimy Rahim

The Star


October 20, 2022

PETALING JAYA – Political parties will know today how much, or how little time they have to resolve the most critical issue before nomination day – selecting their candidates.

The Election Commission (EC) is set to announce the dates for nomination and polling for the 15th General Election (GE15) at about noon today.

The parties are expected to switch to a much higher gear after that, and speed up their choice of candidates.

They will also be eagerly waiting to find out the duration of the campaign period before polling day.

According to EC rules, a minimum of 10 days must be given for parties and candidates to campaign.

This election will also see several firsts.

It is the first time all Malaysians of voting age can do so, thanks to automatic registration.

This will also be the first time those who are aged 18 and above can cast their votes after a law was passed to lower the voting age from 21.Although this is a national election involving all 222 parliamentary seats, it will only see three states – Pahang, Perak and Perlis – having concurrent state polls.

Sabah, Melaka, Johor, Sarawak have already held their state elections while Selangor, Negri Sembilan, Kedah, Kelantan, Terengganu and Penang have opted to sit it out.

However, the selection of candidates will be the hottest topic between now and nomination day.

Umno sources said the party’s “top five” tasked with vetting the candidates’ list are still working on it with different levels of screenings being done.

“This is the most challenging task. The right candidate must be chosen and the party wants to field the best people.

“There are also people who need to be appeased after their names are dropped.

“This process is also important. The party needs to placate those who are not selected and get everyone working together before we enter the campaign period,” said a party source.

The campaign proper will begin immediately after nominations close.

Pakatan Harapan communications director Fahmi Fadzil said a convention will be held in Ipoh today where key leaders are expected to gather to address coalition members and supporters to rally for GE15.

“That had been planned earlier and we will be announcing seat allocations,” said Fahmi, adding that Opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim would officiate the gathering.

He added that the Pakatan candidates will be announced in stages.

Universiti Teknologi Mara’s Shahnon Mohamed Salleh said that after the dates are announced, candidates and seat negotiations will continue right up to the night before nomination day.

“Completing their election manifesto will be another priority as they will need the document ready for the campaign,” said the School of Communication and Media College of Computing, Informatics and Media lecturer.

Political analyst Prof Dr Nik Ahmad Kamal Nik Mahmod of the International Islamic University Malaysia said the election dates were critical in deciding voter turnout.

He observed that voters’ attitudes have changed after the last general election and they now want a stable government.

“They have become more responsible and consider voting a duty to be fulfilled,” he said.

The country has seen political uncertainty post-GE14, which resulted in three governments and three prime ministers since 2018.

It started with the Sheraton Move in 2020, which saw the fall of the Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamed-led Pakatan government, with Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin’s Perikatan Nasional-led government taking over.

Muhyiddin was toppled in 2021, with Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob taking over as Prime Minister of a coalition government involving Barisan Nasional, Perikatan and Gabungan Parti Sarawak.

On Oct 10, the Yang di-Pertuan Agong consented to the dissolution of Parliament, paving the way for GE15.

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