Malaysia's Election Commission chairman says 'snap polls will be a costly affair' if held

In a photo taken on May 9, 2018, a man is seen casting his vote during Malaysia's general election.
In a photo taken on May 9, 2018, a man is seen casting his vote during Malaysia's general election.PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

PETALING JAYA (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - It would cost more than half a billion ringgit to conduct a snap general election if there is a need for one, Malaysia's Election Commission (EC) chairman has said.

"My 'guesstimate' is it could cost anywhere between RM700 million and RM800 million (S$230 million and S$265 million)," said Datuk Azhar Azizan Harun.

He said the 14th General Election in May 2018 cost between RM500 million and RM600 million to run.

It will cost more now, said Mr Azhar.

He added that several improvements had been introduced since he took over the EC. Among them was the addition of more streams at polling centres to improve the voter experience and waiting time.

"One or two more streams have been added in every polling centre, so that would involve an increased workforce and a higher cost to rent tents and other amenities to help facilitate the needs of the elderly and disabled people.

"We may also need to rent new places as polling centres, so (a snap election) would surely cost more than the last one," he said.

Apart from that, logistics must also be taken into consideration, he said.

Mr Azhar added that some people could also raise the price of the services they offer, taking advantage of the unscheduled polls.

 

He also noted that a snap general election, should there be one, must also be conducted within 60 days of the dissolution of Parliament.