EC sees increase in budget for Sarawak elections

PUTRAJAYA: The rising cost of goods has affected the Election Commission's (EC) budget for the upcoming Sarawak state election.

EC deputy chairman Datuk Seri Mohd Hashim Abdullah said the increased budget, among others, would cater for renting vehicles to go to the rural areas in Sarawak.

The incoming EC chairman said such a budget should not be compared to the one for the previous Sarawak state election, as it should reflect current challenges.

"The price to rent vehicles might increase, as well as to rent helicopters. Other costs such as food might also increase," he told reporters at the farewell ceremony of EC chairman Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof.

It was reported that the EC would be spending RM181 million to run the next Sarawak polls. In 2011, the Commission spent RM78 million.

He added that the EC is ready to handle the Sarawak state election anytime from now.

Meanwhile, in a message to Mohd Hashim, Abdul Aziz advised his successor to always ensure democratic practices in managing elections in the country.

Abdul Aziz assumed the role of EC chairman in 2008, taking over from Tan Sri Abdul Rashid Abdul Rahman.

During his tenure, Abdul Aziz handled the 13th General Election, 10th Sarawak state election, as well as 26 by-elections nationwide.

Abdul Aziz later told reporters that he would spend his retirement by taking a break and spending more time with his family.

"I have ten grandchildren. I will have more time to play with them," he said.