EC: One enforcement team for each Selangor seat in GE13
SHAH ALAM, May 14 — The Election Commission (EC) will deploy one enforcement team for each of Selangor’s 56 state seats in the next polls, in anticipation of the intense competition between Barisan Nasional (BN) and Pakatan Rakyat (PR) for the country’s wealthiest state.
According to The Star Online today, each team will be headed by an EC officer and include one local council official, a policeman with the rank of inspector and above and representatives of the contesting candidates.
The team will be tasked to ensure that candidates and their parties campaign according to election rules.
“Everyone will be campaigning, but the level of tension is different. The present Selangor state government will go all out to defend its position, while Barisan Nasional is also going all out to win the state.
“So you can imagine the level of politicking,” EC deputy chairman Datuk Wan Ahmad Wan Omar (picture) was quoted as saying by the English paper.
Wan Ahmad said the EC was not likely to set up similar teams for all 503 state seats to be contested in the coming polls, which are expected soon, as it would be too costly.
But, he said, the possibility would first be deliberated before any final decision is made.
BN lost the country’s wealthiest and most industrialised state of Selangor and three others — Perak, Kedah and Penang — in a historic upset in Election 2008, where the federal opposition also captured 82 federal seats to deny the ruling coalition its customary two-thirds parliamentary majority.
In Selangor, PR won 36 of the 56 state seats and PKR’s Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim was lifted to the post of mentri besar, replacing Umno’s Dr Mohd Khir Toyo.
BN later took back Perak in an electoral putsch in February 2009 and has been working hard to unseat PR in Selangor.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak is said to likely call for elections soon and his administration has been eyeing Selangor, the prized jewel it is determined to have back in its grasp.
The first-term prime minister is seen to be in his best election footing yet, riding on the feel-good factor arising from his administration’s recent slew of reforms to controversial preventive laws and cash handouts to voters.
The Pekan MP has been labelled by some as the “father of transformation” and painted a reformist for his efforts which, among others, even saw the highly-criticised Internal Security Act (ISA) repealed, a new law allowing public gatherings enacted and the ban on students in politics lifted.
But PR-ruled Selangor has said it will not follow Putrajaya in holding federal elections if it should be held before the second half of the year as it has “obligations” to meet before going to the ballot box.
MB Khalid told The Malaysian Insider in a recent interview that the RM300 million Selangorku social welfare grant is still being pushed out and includes a RM2 million voter outreach project that will only be completed by the end of June.
“We found there are 435,000 names, new and also those that have left a constituency. We say to ourselves, 435,000 is a lot of people,” he said.
PR had also said last month it wants to delay polls in Selangor until the EC cleans up the electoral roll in the state which the federal opposition says has ballooned by 35 per cent since Election 2008.
Although Khalid said he did not “want to come up with any conclusion now” as to the authenticity of the changes in the electoral roll, he said the project would “make sure everyone knows what they’re supposed to do and level the playing field.”
He said his administration would try to meet each of the 435,000 “to know whether they are genuine voters and tell them either they are voting here or somewhere else.”
The Malaysian Insider reported in March that PKR was opposed to holding simultaneous polls in Selangor if the next general election is called by May or June as party leaders believe it would be a better tactical strategy to spend more time shoring up support.
Such a move would deny Najib the chance to achieve a key objective that will help cement his hold on power by leading BN into federal polls for the first time.