Kajang by-election nomination and polling dates announced

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Abdul Aziz (left) and Hasan Nawawi showing the map for the the N25 Kajang by-election after announcing the date for the by-election. — Bernama photo

Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Yusof

PUTRAJAYA: The Election Commission (EC) yesterday announced March 23 for polling in the Kajang state by-election, and set the nomination for March 11.

EC chairman Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Yusof said the constituency had 39,278 voters comprising 38,055 ordinary voters, 1,197 advance voters and 26 absentee or overseas voters.

The seat fell vacant on Jan 27 after assemblyman Lee Chin Cheh of Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) resigned suddenly, following which PKR announced that its de facto leader, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, would contest the by-election.

Lee had won the seat with a 6,824-vote majority in the general election held on May 5 last year in a six-cornered contest which also involved the Barisan Nasional (BN), Berjasa and three independent candidates.

Abdul Aziz said the 2012 Electoral Rolls combined with the supplementary electoral rolls for the first, second and third quarters of 2013 and updated as of Jan 26 this year would be used for the by-election.

“The date of the writ is Feb 5; the date of the notice of election, Feb 6; the nomination date, March 11; the date for advance voting, March 19, and the date for polling, March 23.

“The estimated cost of holding the by-election is RM1.6 million,” he told a news conference after chairing a special meeting to determine the date for the by-election at the EC headquarters here.

Abdul Aziz said Kajang Municipal Council president Datuk Hassan Nawawi Abdul Rahman had been appointed as the returning officer for the by-election and that he would have the help of three assistants.

He said 673 election workers had been appointed to help conduct the by-election and that the MPKJ Sports Complex in Section 15 Bandar Baru Bangi would be the nomination centre as well as the vote tallying centre.

“Eighteen polling centres will be set up, three of which will be for the advance voting and the remaining 15 for the polling,” he said.

Replying to a question, Abdul Aziz said the EC required time to undertake many tasks to ensure that the by-election proceeded smoothly.

“Much preparation has to be done. The EC did not expect this by-election. We were focusing on some other matters which come under the EC’s responsibility. With an unexpected announcement … an elected representative stepping down, we have to switch (focus) to make the preparations,” he said.

Abdul Aziz said the cost of a by-election depended on many factors, among them the number of voters, the size of the constituency, the location of the constituency – whether urban or rural, the number of EC workers who were not EC employees and the number of polling centres and streams.

In an urban area, for example, the cost of rental of buildings would be high, he added.

Abdul Aziz said the EC had tried its best to ensure that expenditure was kept to the minimum for the Kajang by-election.

On enforcement, he said three squads would be involved – one comprising EC workers appointed by the Kajang Municipal Council (MPKj) , one comprising police officers of the rank of inspector and above as well as MPKj officers and one comprising representatives of the contesting candidates.

Existing laws only empowered the EC to monitor the election campaign after nomination, he said, adding that monitoring prior to nomination rested with the police.

“In fact, those who want to contest have to wait for the official campaign period before campaigning … although I have come to know that some campaigning has started,” he said.

Abdul Aziz said the indelible ink would be used and that it would be of a high quality and durable.

Asked why the by-election was being held almost at the end of March, Abdul Aziz said the EC had to make all kinds of preparations.

“We have to prepare a complete electoral rolls, get ready proper polling centres and a proper nomination centre, as well as the agreement of the owners of the buildings for the voting process.

“The indelible ink has to be obtained from abroad. This takes a long time. At least two weeks are required to train all EC workers,” he said. — Bernama