KOTA KINABALU (Nov 2): The Sabah Secretariat of the Mission of Seventh-day Adventists on Tuesday submitted a new application to the Election Commission (EC) to extend the voting time of the 15th General Election by 90 minutes.
Its spokesperson, Pastor Earie Madius, said the new application was made following EC’s rejection of their earlier request to give early voting flexibility to followers of Seventh-Day Adventists in Malaysia (SDA), especially in Sabah.
“In early October 2022, the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar had announced that a number of improvements in the GE, including the extension of voting hours which start from 8am to 6pm for Peninsular Malaysia while from 7.30am to 5.30pm for Sabah and Sarawak.
“After making a reference for Saturday of November 19, the sunset time is at 6.58pm in the Peninsular, while for Sabah and Sarawak it is 5.56pm and 6.25pm respectively.
“Accordingly, the SDA Church humbly requests consideration, the voting time can be extended for about an hour and 30 minutes from the existing schedule in Peninsular Malaysia, Sabah and Sarawak,” he said in a statement on Wednesday.
For the record, SDA church observes the seventh day Sabbath which begins at sunset every Friday and ends at sunset every Saturday.
According to Earie, the new application was emailed to the Sabah State Election Director, Rohiman Rahia on November 1.
“The request for an extension is to enable the SDA followers to fulfill their obligations as Malaysian citizens to cast their votes without neglecting their spiritual responsibilities.
“We have received a response from the EC on October 28 regarding the application but it was rejected.
“It is because according to the election regulations, voters who are eligible to vote early are only members of the police who serve with the General Operations Force and spouses and members of the military who are on duty on voting day,” he said.
In the statement, Earie also attached a newspaper cutting from The Straits Times dated March 13, 1967 which reported that the EC gave flexibility to SDA church members to vote on Sunday in a news story titled “Saturday Sabbath, so polling is put off a day”.