5th March 2022
State government should declare polling day as a special public holiday
Polling day for the Johor state elections will be on Saturday, 12th March 2022 which is just 6 days away. Despite it already being held on a weekend and most Malaysians would be available to exercise their responsibility in voting, I urge the Johor state government to take it one step further by declaring polling day as a special public holiday.
The reason for this being, the government must maximise all of its capabilities at this juncture to ensure a high voter turnout. It must heed the Election Commission’s target of voter turnout at 70% and provide a response to the low registration numbers for postal voting that is only 7,824 postal voters of overseas Malaysians. Hence, showing that it is answerable to the failing of registering postal voters while at the same time proving that it is not too late to capitalise on all efforts to ensure that polling day is attended by all voters.
We must also remember the external factors that voters consider before going out to vote. One of which would be whether they have work on that day. There is precedent to this such as that the polling day for the 15th Malacca State Elections and for the 14th General Elections, were both declared a special public holiday. This would fall under their purview in accordance with the Holidays Act 1951. Hence, proving it is within their powers to declare a public holiday. The consequence to this saw 65.85% voter turnout and 82.32% respectively. In addition to that, once it is viewed as a public holiday, it would boost public morale and spirit for the everyday Malaysian to travel home and exercise their civic duty.
Thus, I call upon the state government to swiftly look into this issue and act quickly so voters can make arrangements and plan their travel time in case they are coming from out of state. Finally, by doing this, it would highlight that the government takes this democratic process seriously and recognises it with the significance it deserves.
Teo Nie Ching
MP for Kulai
DAP Johor Election Director