M'sian PM declares two days of public holiday for people to vote at GE15

The announcement will likely help voters in rural parts of West Malaysia more than those in other parts of Malaysia.

Tan Min-Wei | November 17, 2022, 12:57 PM

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Malaysian Prime Minister  Ismail Sabri Yaakob has declared Nov. 18 and 19 to be public holidays. The Friday and Saturday are the eve and day of Malaysia's general election.

Fulfilling a civic duty

The decision was announced on Nov. 14 according to Free Malaysia Today, with Ismail Sabri saying that it was with the intention of making it easier for voters to travel to their hometowns to fulfil their civic duty.

Malaysia will see many voters return from the cities where they work to vote in their hometowns and the announcement of the public holiday will make certain return trips easier.

This is especially true for voters living in rural parts of the country where it can sometimes take the better part of a day to get to.

Although with the announcement being made so close to the day of voting, it may not have been in time to help East Malaysians working in peninsular Malaysia.

Ismail Sabri also announced that 30 highway concessionaires were to go toll-free on both days.

According to Reuters, Malaysia's financial markets will also be closed on Friday, Nov 18, and will resume trading on Nov. 21.

Voter turnouts

This will likely be welcome news to the political parties who are banking on higher voter turnouts. The Malay Mail reported that the opposition Pakatan Harapan coalition believes that it needs at least a 75 per cent voter turnout to prevent a governing Barisan Nasional victory.

In the seminal 2018 general election, voter turnout reached 85 per cent, lending credence to the view that lower voter turnout favours BN.

The Malay Mail also points out that the Johor state assembly election, held earlier in 2022, had a low voter turnout of about 50 per cent. BN did very well in those elections, winning 40 out of 56 seats.

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Top Image via Ismail Sabri Yaakob/Facebook & Mothership