TANAH RATA: The Election Commission (EC) will not extend the polling hours in certain District Voting Centres (PDM), especially in the Orang Asli settlements due to security factors and logistic challenges.
EC Chairman Azhar Azizan Harun said the security factor was important because the commission has to use a helicopter to transport the ballot papers to and from some areas which are difficult to access.
“We will not extend because this is a question of security, and from the logistics point, it is dangerous because we are using helicopters,” he told reporters when met at the Brinchang Police Station, here today.
Earlier, Azhar visited the station’s information room to view the early voting process where 232 police staff are eligible to vote in the Cameron Highlands by-election.
Commenting further, Azhar said the early closing of some polling centres, especially those in the interior areas which were difficult to access had long been practised, including during the 14th General Election (GE14) last year.
Azhar said although some of the polling centres were closed early, voter turnout was high, up to 80%.
“I will not close too late because of the security issue but I feel it will not prevent the voters from voting in these places,” he said.
Azhar was commenting on the call by Umno secretary-general Tan Sri Annuar Musa that the EC review the polling hours in some PDM in the Cameron Highlands by-election on Jan 26, as the parliamentary constituency was big and the terrain challenging.
According to Annuar, of the 29 PDM in Cameron Highlands, only four are open until 5.30pm, namely Bertam Valley, Ringlet, Tanah Rata and Brinchang, while the rest would be closed between 1pm and 3pm.
Meanwhile, commenting on the allegations made by certain individuals that EC chose to close an eye to the election offences committed in the by-election, Azhar said that EC has taken all the necessary actions based on the power vested on the commission.
“We have taken the necessary action based on the power given to us by the law. I have done everything from giving out information to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission and police, issuing advice and warnings, and also made all the parties concerned sign an affirmative covenant.
“If any individual wants me to do more like investigating or arresting, then they need to go to Parliament and ask the Members of Parliament to pass a new law as the current law does not allow us to do so,” he added. — Bernama