Azhar Harun: Political parties stubbornly maintain campaign booths

Azhar Harun: Political parties stubbornly maintain campaign booths

RANTAU POLLS RANTAU: Election Commission chief Azhar Azizan Harun bemoaned the fact that political parties continue to stubbornly maintain campaign booths, otherwise known as ‘pondok panas‘, as it wasn’t necessary.

“I have visited three polling centres. The election process had been going well. But, I felt dissatisfied with candidates and political parties, discipline-wise, because the pondok panas still exist.

“Even when I told them to stop (operating), they would just stand down for some 15 minutes before continuing again.

“I even went to warn them twice, but still they would continue, (including) using mobile phone (to check on voters’ information),” he told reporters after visiting a polling centre at SK Nyatoh earlier today.

He further pointed that it was needless to have such booths since EC issued voter information cards with all the necessary information in it.

“There is no need to do the check again. This is because we have sent out voters’ cards, which can be checked against EC website as well as (mobile) application.

“We also have EC booths at each polling centre, where voters themselves can check their information there,” he said.

Campaign booths run by political parties were a regular feature in elections prior under the Barisan Nasional administration as it served to assist EC to verify voters information. The voter information card was introduced during the Semenyih by-election.

He also commented on the alleged vote canvassing by the ruling coalition candidate, Dr S Streram this morning.

“You saw there was a video. So, lodge a report. Please do. I am not sure if he was really campaigning, but it was an offence.

“He is not allowed to campaign during polling day from 12 midnight last night until 5.30pm today. (He) cannot ask for people to vote for him… If there is video evidence, I am asking for reports to be lodged,” he said.

In response to a question from the media, Streram said that he hoped that voters would vote for Pakatan Harapan.

EC deputy chairman Azmi Sharom was cautious in expressing his disappointment over that incident.