KUALA LUMPUR – Malaysia will hold its next general election on Nov 19, the Election Commission announced on Thursday.
The commission said candidate nominations will take place on Nov 5, providing for a 14-day campaigning period.
Caretaker Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob announced the dissolution of Parliament on Oct 10 after receiving the consent of the countrys King, Sultan Abdullah Ahmad Shah. A general election must be held within 60 days of Parliaments dissolution.
Datuk Seri Ismail on Thursday said that the 14-day campaign period announced by the commission was sufficient.
There were times when the period was even shorter, he reportedly said after launching an entrepreneurship carnival in Selangor. For the 2018 election, the campaigning period was 11 days.
More than 20 million Malaysians are expected to vote for a new government, following more than two years of political turmoil that led to a snap election.
Concerns had been raised that the polls are being held close to Malaysias annual monsoon season, which usually begins in mid-November and brings intense rain and flooding.
All 222 parliamentary seats will be up for grabs during the general election, along with the state legislative seats of Pahang, Perlis and Perak. Another state seat in Sabah – Bugaya – will also face a midterm election on the same day after a by-election there was postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Election Commission also revealed that the cost of holding the election will be double that of the last general election.
This election needs an allocation of RM1.01 billion (S$304 million), commission chairman Ghani Abdul Salleh told reporters. The 2018 polls cost only an estimated RM500 million.
Early voting for security personnel, such as the army and police, will take place on Nov 15.
Postal voting, which is available to members of the media, election officers, civil security forces, agencies and Malaysians residing abroad, is now open for application. The deadline for applications for Malaysians living abroad is Oct 23, for agencies Oct 26 and for the rest on Nov 2.
A record 10 of Malaysias 13 states will not call for simultaneous state legislative elections together with the federal election, reflecting the political instability that has rocked the country since 2020.
The states of Sabah, Sarawak, Melaka and Johor have all held state elections in the past two years, three of which were triggered by party defections. Another six states led by federal opposition Pakatan Harapan (PH) and Parti Islam SeMalaysia have opted against dissolving their state assemblies ahead of the anticipated flood season. Remote video URL Malaysias eligible voter base has swelled by nearly 50 per cent for the upcoming election, compared with the previous election in 2018. The commission said 21.1 million voters are eligible to cast their votes, compared with nearly 15 million in 2018.
The commission did not provide a voter turnout target, but many expect that it will be lower than the 82 per cent turnout registered in 2018.
This is partly due to the fact that the bulk of new voters were added to the electoral roll after the country implemented an automatic voter registration system and lowered its voting age to 18. Voting is not compulsory in Malaysia.
The Johor state assembly election in March this year – the first polls held since the lower voting age and automatic voter registration were implemented – saw a turnout of only 54 per cent. More On This Topic Malaysia GE: All you need to know Polls apart: The battle for Malaysia in 2022 election The general election is set to see a crowded battlefield that may not yield a clear winner. The countrys long-ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) alliance is looking to win enough seats to retain federal power outright after its shock defeat at the 2018 polls. But this time, it is challenged by at least two major opposition blocs – PH and Perikatan Nasional.
There are also smaller parties and coalitions that could impact the outcome, such as former premier Mahathir Mohamads Gerakan Tanah Air and youth-based party Malaysian United Democratic Alliance.
Meanwhile, political parties in Sarawak and Sabah are set to play a crucial kingmaker role in determining the outcome. The ruling blocs in both Borneo states – Gabungan Parti Sarawak and Gabungan Rakyat Sabah – could enter into post-electoral alliances to help any of the major coalitions in forming a new federal government. Sarawak has 31 seats and Sabah 25 seats in Malaysias 222-seat Parliament.
Malaysias politics has been in turmoil since the collapse of the PH administration in 2020, less than two years after it defeated BN in 2018.
The country has seen three prime ministers in three years, and the last two administrations had only a single-digit majority in Parliament. Five Malaysian states have gone through administration changes caused by defections since 2020. Remote video URL More On This Topic Malaysias elections – a two-level chess game? Malaysia GE2022: Will voter fatigue affect prospects at the ballot box? Your browser does not support iframes, but you can use the following link: Link