Voter turnout hinges on level of confidence


KUCHING: Cooperation between all relevant parties must be seamless to ensure a high voter turnout come Dec 18.

According to political analyst Dr Ammar Redza Ahmad Rizal, this will involve the Election Commission (EC), authorities, political parties, election officials and ultimately the general public.

“First, the EC needs to outline guidelines and provide continuous information on standard operating procedures (SOPs) to reassure voters that they (SOPs) are applicable and will not put them at risk of a Covid-19 infection,” he said.

“Second, it is the responsibility of the prospective candidates as well as the contesting parties to set a good example to the public.

“They themselves need to be an example to the voters (in their constituency) by always adhering to the SOPs outlined during the campaign.

“In fact, it should not be a problem for them to occasionally remind residents of the importance of going to the polls by adhering to SOPs,” he said.

Ammar said the presence of the authorities at campaigning venues would also convince voters that everyone should abide by the set SOPs.

“It will make any party who wants to violate the SOPs to think twice.

“This will give more certainty for the voters to carry out their responsibilities on polling day,”he stressed.

Commenting on the best communication approach, he said the EC needs to look at appropriate areas.

“For residents in urban areas, the installation of banners, compliance with SOPs as well as dissemination of information through social media should be encouraged.

“Meanwhile, for rural residents, briefings should be given to the longhouse chiefs and community leaders first as they will be the agents (of the EC) to convey information to the rural community,” he said.

In addition, he said the EC could also make public places such as houses of worship and markets as locations to conduct talks on SOPs during campaigning and on polling day.

“The involvement of all parties will definitely give more confidence to voters to carry out their responsibilities on Dec 18,” he added.

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