Malaysia

GE13 sends Malaysians scrambling back across Causeway

By Debra Chong
Assistant News Editor

April 12, 2013

Voters are racing to book their trips home for what is expected to be the tightest general election in Malaysian history. — File picVoters are racing to book their trips home for what is expected to be the tightest general election in Malaysian history. — File pic

Sales for flights on budget airlines such as AirAsia and Tiger Airways have been brisk, as are those for bus tickets, prompting some bus companies across the Causeway to mull doubling their fleets to meet the increased demand.

“This time, a lot of people are very actively interested about going home to vote,” Chris Tay, the deputy general manager for Five Stars Tours, was quoted saying.

Tay was reported saying passenger demand now was higher than five years ago during Election 2008.

Five Stars Tours is considering expanding its daily operations to 100 coaches daily from the present 50, the Singapore daily reported, as its checks with four companies revealed tickets for the May 5 weekend to major destinations like Kuala Lumpur, Penang, Ipoh and Taiping are selling out fast, if not already sold out.

Bus tickets have also been going quickly for departures as early as the night of April 30, the daily reported, as May 1 is Labour Day ― a public holiday in both Singapore and Malaysia.

Groups have also approached bus companies to charter entire coaches, the paper reported.

While Malaysia’s Election Commission has finally opened up postal voting for Malaysians abroad for Election 2013, those living in Singapore, Brunei, southern Thailand and Kalimantan in Indonesia are not eligible and must return home to cast their ballot.

An estimated 400,000 Malaysians live in Singapore, but the number of registered voters is unknown, as are the figures for Malaysians living in the other three countries.

Some Malaysians in the Lion City have also initiated a carpool service that has matched about 300 drivers and passengers, The Straits Times reported, adding that another 330 passengers from small towns are still hoping to find a ride.

Some 13.3 million Malaysians are eligible to vote, with about three million being first-time voters.

Many believe the results for the 13th general election will be very close.

“It is the most closely fought election in Malaysian history, and every vote will count,” the paper quoted Andrew Yong, a founder of My Overseas Vote, an organisation campaigning for postal voting, as saying.