THE Election Commission (EC) has already ended the speculations, questions and rumours concerning the 15th general election (GE15).
Day when 21.1 million voters will choose which parties or candidates would form the next government.
Once the 15th general election (GE15) results are revealed at midnight on November 19.
Candidates and political parties have 14 days to campaign from the moment the nomination process is concluded until midnight on November 18. Is the campaign duration sufficient?
There cannot be a campaign period of fewer than 11 days. This minimum limit has been in effect since the 2013 general election. The EC typically allows parties and candidates between 11 and 15 days to run their campaigns.
What is the measure for assessing whether a campaign period is too short or too long? Two weeks is neither too long nor too short. Political parties and candidates do not require a month to run their campaigns. Fourteen days should be more than enough.
It should be noted that since the beginning of general elections in this country, the campaign period was 35 days; for example, in 1959, 1964 and 1969.
Following the horrible riots on May 13, 1969, and the racial provocation initiated by a certain party, the government imposed several restrictive restrictions. This includes enacting new acts and shortening the campaigning period. That is why for the fourth GE in 1974, the campaign period was only 16 days.
It should be noted that the campaign period was shortened as a result of the nation’s growth and advancement in terms of transportation, communications, and municipal procedures.
The shortest campaign period ever occurred was eight days in 2004 and nine days in 1999. In GE12 the duration was 13 days; GE13 — 15 days; and GE14 — 11 days. The campaign periods for three successive general elections — in 1986, 1990, and 1995 — was ten days.
Campaigning is challenging when communication and transportation systems are inadequate, particularly in the vast rural areas where there are numerous longhouses and villages. Because of this, having strong campaign machinery is crucial for candidates and party infrastructure to reach out to voters in all areas.
The main parties have been campaigning directly or indirectly for some time now. A long campaign period is therefore not necessarily good as it is not only resource-intensive and tiring but also financially burdensome.
Some large and well-funded parties may find a longer campaign period beneficial but independent candidates and smaller parties tend to suffer. It is difficult for unfamiliar new faces as they need time to introduce themselves, their ideologies, and policies throughout the campaign.
In contrast, the incumbent who has represented his or her area for several terms no longer needs any introduction except to court new voters or fence sitters.
As the EC has already set the dates for nomination day early voting and polling (Nov 19), all parties and candidates have to accept the reality. Any dispute is pointless. The choice of Saturday for polling is a relief for everyone because it is a weekend day for all states. Saturday is a non-working day for most who work in the public or private sector.
From now on, candidates and political parties need to plan the best strategies, methods, approaches, and techniques to launch a powerful political communication and political marketing strategy.
The goal is to make sure that prospective voters may be approached before election day. It makes no difference whether they are approached in person or the virtual world. Yes, to finally influence and persuade them to support the campaigning candidate and party.
There will be fierce competition if the area involved is represented by several popular and influential candidates. Of course, candidates and parties that have a strong influence, have integrity, and can provide the best services and services, including in terms of development, will be elected. Campaigns aim to conquer the souls and minds of voters to support the candidate or party involved.
Candidates and political party supporters need to adopt a prudent approach throughout the GE15 campaign period. Candidates and parties need to compete healthily without having to make personal attacks, provoke, launch slander, abuse, reproach, and belittle anyone. In short, manners and customs need to be followed. Campaign wisely. Do not forget that anyone who violates campaign rules will be prosecuted under certain acts.
Consolidate all strategies and resources, and implement all methods to ensure that the hearts of voters can be anchored, whether through traditional or modern methods. Also, it is to ensure that the percentage of voters is high. If it can outperform GE14, which achieved around 82 per cent, it will be a game changer.
Additionally, keep in mind that one must carry out obligations and responsibilities with complete trust once one has been chosen. Don’t only get fired up during the campaign and then nowhere to be seen afterwards.
Datuk Dr Jeniri Amir is a political analyst and Senior Fellow of the National Council of Professors