Gabungan Bertindak Malaysia (GBM) is disappointed with the Electoral Commission’s decision to set polling day on 9 May.
We commend the effort by caretaker government of Najib Razak to ameliorate the situation by declaring 9 May a public holiday.
While we appreciate that under regulation 11 of the Conduct of Elections Regulations, the Electoral Commission is empowered to hold polling on any day, the date happens to be in the middle of a work week which is unreasonable since it will deprive and inconvenience many Malaysians from fulfilling their obligation to cast their vote. The right to vote is enshrined in the Federal Constitution and the Electoral Commission should have set it on a weekend which would have enabled as many Malaysians as possible to fulfil their obligation.
We also urge employers to grant their employees who are based out-of-town an extra day of unrecorded leave on 10 May. Section 25(1) of the Election Offences Act mandates the employers to grant enough time off to their employees to vote.
For voters who vote near where they live, the caretaker government’s announcement of 9 May as a public holiday has negated the need for employers to grant them time off. However, for out-of-town voters, an extra day off, besides the day of voting itself, is needed for them to be able to vote. While we regret the cost incurred, we nonetheless appeal to employers’ goodwill to enable employees to fulfil their responsibility as citizens of Malaysia.
We also appeal to our fellow Malaysians to come out to vote despite the cost or inconvenience that it might cause. As citizens in a democratic country, it is our right to decide on the next government that will lead this country for the next five years, and your vote matters.
Gabungan Bertindak Malaysia