Announcement of nomination, polling dates sets Twitter alight

Supporters of the ruling Barisan Nasional outside a stadium in Bukit Jalil, a suburb of Kuala Lumpur, on April 6, 2013 before Malaysia's Prime Minister Najib Razak launches his coalition's election manifesto. Malaysian tweeters cheer the announcement of nomination and polling dates on April 10, 2013. -- PHOTO: AFP 

PUTRAJAYA (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - "Are you ready to rock the vote, peeps? #May5 #GE13dates", tweeted @adschumi.

Like @adschumi, many Malaysian tweeters cheered the Election Commission's (EC) long-awaited announcement of nomination and polling dates on Wednesday.

Polling for the 13th general election is on May 5, while nomination of candidates is on April 20.

Many turned to Twitter for quick updates on the dates, such as @Jevin1510, "Here I am. Without a TV. READING updates on #GE13dates . Life of a student. :/"

Prime Minister and Barisan Nasional chairman Najib Razak tweeted: "The Electoral Commission has announced that #GE13 will be on May 5th. Candidates nominated April 20th. Let's act".

Netizens were quick to comment on the announcement such as @jleongmy who tweeted, "Man the battle stations! Hoist the flags! while @WasirilAswad enthused, "Really cannot wait for GE-13 as the fate of our country depends on it <3 #Ge13".

Once the dates were announced, tweets about clearing their schedule for the day abounded, such as @minieSayz who tweeted, "*flips the planner* marks 5th May. time to apply for leave! #ge13dates".

Flight tickets on the day were selling fast, as noted by @lizkumar who tweeted, "Got my flight tix to KK to have my say! Shocking how quickly the MAS and AA tix skyrocketed & disappeared! Flying Malindoair #ge13dates".

Some were relieved that their plans did not clash with the announced dates.

@Caut_Satury tweeted "does not disturb holiday dates, kekeke #GE13dates", as with @jamie_pang who tweeted, "With the polling date announced, I'm now able to enjoy the Bidor Half Marathon cum eating trip on Apr 28th #ge13dates #GE13".

According to EC chairman Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof, the 13th general election will cost RM400 million (S$163.3 million), making it the most expensive election in the country's history so far.

He added that the nomination and polling dates were chosen because "they do not coincide with any dates important to any community in Malaysia".

The EC also reminded employers to allow time for their employees to vote, as provided for in Section 25(1) of the Election Offences Act 1954.

There are close to 13.3 million registered voters for GE13, compared to 10.7 million during the 2008 general election, an increase of 2.6 million voters.