Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Separate polls way too costly, says electoral chief

Election Commission chairman Datuk Seri Mohd Hashim Abdullah said Sarawak Chief Minister Tan Sri Adenan Satem's suggestion to hold parliamentary and state elections separately was not impossible but merely impractical. He said political considerations aside, the major implication of holding the elections separately would be the cost involved. The new EC chief said the cost could double or even triple if parliamentary and state elections were not held simultaneously. "It would also be a burden but not something that cannot be done," he said at a media briefing on the next state elections in Kuching today. Earlier, Hashim said the cost of conducting the Sarawak elections was RM135 million, the bulk of it for the rental of 38 helicopters to ferry ballot papers and election workers in rural areas. Sarawak is the only state whose elections are not held in tandem with the general election. Its elections are almost three years after a general election. Adenan, during his get-together with Barisan Nasional women on Monday night, said the separate polling dates would hold many advantages for the ruling coalition. The main advantage, he said, was that BN leaders – like him in the case in Sarawak – could analyse the result of the parliamentary elections to draw up the strategy for the state elections. He told the BN women at the Malam Mesra in Kuching that an analysis of the 2013 general election result shaped his strategy for the next elections. The seed, Adenan added, was sown two years ago. "I have prepared myself and laid the ground for this (next state) elections for two years." Crunching numbers, Hashim said the electoral roll in Sarawak as at the end of the fourth quarter last year was 1.141 million voters, 25,042 of whom were advance voters and 106 postal voters. Women voters number slightly more than male voters at 50.08%. He said voters in the 40 to 49 age group made up the majority of voters, accounting for 23.63%. – March 3, 2016.]]>

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