Datuk Takiyuddin Hassan

KUALA LUMPUR: The election commission (EC) is prepared to face the possibility of an early 15th general election (GE15), said Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Takiyuddin Hassan.

He said the preparations included budget, equipment, logistics, system development, human resource management and training of staff.

“This is important to ensure a smooth election, especially during the post-Covid-19 period,” he said during the question-and-answer session at the Dewan Rakyat here yesterday.

Takiyuddin was replying to Datuk Seri Mahdzir Khalid (BN-Padang Terap) who wanted to know the EC’s level of preparedness to face the possibility of an early GE15 and on the development of a proposal to apply electronic voting method (e-voting) as an alternative to the conventional method in the post Covid-19 period.

He said the EC’s preparation for GE15 included having more polling stations in constituencies with a high number of voters, and updating the electoral roll from time to time.

Takiyuddin said to ensure a fair and transparent election, the EC would continue to make improvements to the electoral process as had been done in the by-elections held after the GE14.

“At the moment, the election process will be carried out in accordance with the Covid-19 prevention guidelines in line with the movement control order (MCO) under the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1988 (Act 342) enforced by the government and was implemented during the Chini state by-election,” he said.

On the proposal to apply the e-voting method in elections, he said the EC was having engagements with all parties involved in the country and abroad to assess the suitability of the voting method.

He said the use of the e-voting system would involve new challenges pertaining to issues of confidentiality, security, costs and voter education.

“In this case, the EC is still not satisfied with the issue on confidentiality and security. Therefore, the EC will continue to engage with the relevant parties before any decision is submitted to the government,” he added.

Takiyuddin also said the e-voting system had been carried out in several countries such as Brazil, India, Estonia and the United States, but there were reports stating that the system had to be reviewed and eventually some countries had to return to the manual system.

“The results are also questionable, so we see the e-voting method is still not effective. In Malaysia, the conventional system will continue to be used and at the same time, it will be improved,” he added. – Bernama