KUALA LUMPUR: On Tuesday (May 8), a day before Malaysians were to go to the polls, the Election Commission (EC) advised voters not to trust or be influenced by false messages being circulated on social media by “certain quarters to confuse them”.
EC chairman Mohd Hashim Abdullah said the distribution of false messages in the form of video clips, text and pictures on social media was gaining momentum in the run-up to polling for the 14th general election.
He dismissed a viral message about last Saturday’s early-voting ballots having been counted in several parliamentary constituencies, and said that the boxes of ballots were safe in police station lock-ups.
“These ballots will only be counted from 4pm on May 9 (polling day). The counting will take place at the EC-designated counting centres in the presence of the candidates or their agents,” he said in a statement.
Mohd Hashim also dismissed a claim that the space after the names of certain candidates in some ballot papers had been rubbed with candle wax to make it difficult for voters to mark them.
He said there had been no such complaints and that the EC staff had checked every ballot paper to ensure it was free from any mark such as a black dot.
He also said that voters would have to mark only one space adjacent to any of the candidates’ names and make sure that the mark did not cross into the spaces after the names of the other candidates.
“If there is a doubt, the matter will be determined by the polling station presiding officer with the agreement of the counting agents of the candidates,” he said.
Mohd Hashim said the EC also dismissed a viral fake message that voters could claim transport charges at the district office by producing their identity card and that the claim was between RM10 and RM1,000.
He advised the people against circulating false messages on social media, saying it could cause confusion and that it was also an offence.
VOTERS DON’T NEED TO WORRY ABOUT SAFETY: POLICE
About 14,449,200 of the total 14,940,624 electors are eligible to vote between 8am and 5pm in the 14th general election, the EC revealed. The rest of the electors are absentee voters, postal voters or early voters.
A total of 2,333 people have filed nomination papers to contest 222 parliamentary and 505 state seats in this general election. On nomination day, the Barisan Nasional won the Rantau state seat in Negeri Sembilan unopposed.
The election commission said it has made available 8,253 polling stations with 28,115 polling streams.
In his statement, Mohd Hashim advised all quarters, especially the candidates, their supporters and party workers, and voters to comply with the laws and regulations, ethics and EC and police instructions to ensure a smooth general election.
Police also reminded voters and political party supporters to exercise their right with discipline and not trigger any provocation.
Bukit Aman Director of Internal Security and Public Order Zulkifli Abdullah advised voters to go to the polls early to avoid traffic congestion close to the polling stations.
“Voters do not have to worry because policemen have been stationed at the polling stations to ensure security and control traffic,” he said to Bernama.
In an advisory, police also assured the public that high security standards would be met.
“Police are confident that polling will take place smoothly and that the citizens will accept the election results with maturity and an open heart, because it is a decision made by the citizens themselves in determining the country’s future,” said police chief Mohamad Fuzi Harun.
“We appeal to Malaysian citizens to come down and perform their rightful duty as voters. They don’t have to worry about security because police will ensure that the voting process is carried out smoothly and safely,” he said.