The EC is now considering how to limit the presence of big crowds at nomination and polling days of elections-but what is the point? Putting 1 party crowd next to another certainly present a cause of security concern. However it is not necessary except that the limited time frame for nomination and objection(1 hour each) has squeeze the supporters of candidates to congregate within the limited time frame. So why not extend the time for nomination and objection to 1 week so the candiates can come at different times -so they can exercise their right of movement to support their candidates and not to run onto a course of potential conflict with another mob of party supporters? A direct benefit of this better arrangement is: The police won’t be needed in such big number and costs can be cut to the benefits of the national coffer!
As to the polling day crowds, the party tents, free lunches, drinks and transprts etc-they have been illegal from day1! There was hours moratorium on campaigning ahead and including the polling day some elections ago-but the moratorium was reduced to the eve of polling day ie only 24 hours was left for the no-campagning period. However even this has never been respected by 2 sides of the political parties! The incumbent party-who has not stopped to control the government machineries during elections should be blamed more since it lead the way in non-compliance of their own law on campaigning moratorium!
With such conflictual tension built up outside the polling centres the police will find a good time to deploying themselves and make a killing on the deployment charges!
At the base of it-massing supporters as a way to show public support is not quite necccesarily effective: no matter how many people can be mobilised on the ground there are always more who vote in the polling stations. So it is more advisable for political parties to concentrate on their long and short terms ways to attract the voters than trying to do the extreme short terms ways to appeal to the voters on polling day. That truly sound desperate! If the parties acknowledged this they will stop their supporters from wasting their time on polling day!
Saturday April 18, 2009(Star)
EC may limit number of supporters at polling centres
PETALING JAYA: The Election Commission is looking at limiting the number of supporters allowed at nomination and polling centres in a bid to stop by-elections from turning into a “circus.”
Its chairman, Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Yusof, confirmed that the commission would meet on Wednesday to discuss the matter.
The commission would also decide on the date for the Penanti state by-election and will announce it on Friday.
“The objective is to limit the presence of supporters of contesting political parties,” he told Mstar, The Star’s news portal.
Abdul Aziz said if the situation in the recent by-elections, where nomination and polling days took on a more festive atmosphere, were allowed to continue, the crowd would be bigger in subsequent by-elections.
“The number keeps increasing from one election to another. How are we going to have crowd control if the numbers reach 100,000 or 200,000?” he said, adding that a massive crowd would make it hard for the police to ensure safety.
Since last year’s general election, the country had seen five by-elections – Permatang Pauh, Kuala Terengganu, Bukit Gantang, Bukit Selambau and Batang Ai.