SINGAPORE (Apr 16): Malaysia will hold its 14th General Election (GE14) on May 9, and it looks as though crowds of Malaysians working here are planning to make the trip up north to vote.
Much has been made of the fact that the coming election will be held in the middle of the week — on a Wednesday. Critics say this could affect voter turnout and help deliver victory to the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition. Yet, this is not the first time that polling will take place on a weekday. In 1959, 1982, 1995 and 1999, elections were also held on weekdays, although the 1982 and 1995 polls took place over more than a day.
The government has since declared May 9 a public holiday. In any case, the correlation between voter turnout and the day of the week that polling is held is not especially strong. GE13, held on a Sunday, saw a record 84.8% voter turnout rate. The second-highest turnout rate in Malaysia’s history, at 78.9%, was for GE2 in 1964. However, in 2004, the last time an election was held on a Sunday, the voter turnout rate was a middling 73.9%.