PETALING JAYA - Malaysia's next general election will cost more than RM1 billion (S$343 million) to hold, says Election Commission chairman Abdul Ghani Salleh.
"The estimated cost is about RM1.1 billion," Tan Sri Abdul Ghani said when contacted by The Star.
He said this was more than double the estimated RM500 million spent for the last polls in 2018, and almost triple the RM400 million spent for the general election in 2013.
He said that the higher costs are largely due to the increase in manpower and other resources needed to cater to a larger pool of voters, after Malaysia lowered its voting age from 21 years to 18 years and implemented an automatic voter registration system. These changes were made operational in December 2021.
More than 21 million registered voters have been gazetted as at mid-August. In 2018, the number of registered voters stood at about 14.9 million.
As a result, the commission will need about 366,000 people to man the polls, up from the 260,000 personnel on duty at the last election, Mr Abdul Ghani said.
The number of polling streams and centres will also increase for the next general election, he said.
There will be 9,560 polling centres, compared to 9,010 centres at the previous general election. And polling streams will increase to 38,990, compared to 29,054 previously.
Mr Abdul Ghani however declined to say whether the commission had begun ordering its supplies of indelible ink, which was introduced in the 2013 general election to prevent voters from voting more than once.
The country’s next election must be held by September 2023, but there is widespread speculation that Parliament may be dissolved as early as October this year.
THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK