by ALIFAH ZAINUDDIN / pic by MUHD AMIN NAHARUL
IN WHAT has evolved into a keenly fought general election, civil servants were assured that their votes will remain a secret by political parties and government branches.
Civil servants, who are traditionally encouraged to vote for the government of the day in every election, were also assured that there is no way to trace back their votes under the new rules introduced recently.
Their calls came ahead of the early voting for members of the police and armed forces, which began on Saturday.
At a rally in Putrajaya last week, Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia division leader Ahmad TK said an amendment to the Elections (Conduct of Elections) Regulations 1981 guaranteed the confidentiality of each vote.
“In 2006, an amendment was made to the Act, ensuring that there is no way to match and trace the vote to the registrant number. All votes have been 100% secret since then,” he told a massive rally crowd made up mainly of civil servants in Putrajaya last Friday.
He told the crowd that the amendment had indirectly caused the ruling coalition to lose Lumut in the last election, despite the presence of a naval base in the constituency, which traditionally ensured them victory.
Also last Friday, Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN) chief Admiral Tan Sri Ahmad Kamarulzaman Ahmad Badaruddin told navy staff that they were free to vote for any candidate or party of their own choice.
“As responsible Malaysians, vote wisely. Don’t be influenced by any incitement that can affect your decision. Use your wisdom based on facts, observations, achievements and experiences. Remember, every vote is a secret,” he said in a statement issued on RMN’s Facebook page on May 2.
Inspector General of Police Tan Sri Mohamad Fuzi Harun also made a similar announcement.
“We do not determine which party they can vote for. All votes are a secret and this is definitely something we practise within the force. It is each individual’s right to vote for the party of their own choice,” he told reporters in Bukit Aman last Friday.
Mohamad Fuzi said there were a total of 111,702 early voters within the police force, with 5,660 voters in Bukit Aman and 106,062 voters across the various states in the country.
Putrajaya is one of the smallest electoral constituencies in Malaysia, with 27,306 registered voters; the federal seat has been a Barisan Nasional hotbed since its electoral debut in 2004 as government officials and their families represent a sizeable majority of the population.
Incumbent Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor has been a local favourite, winning all three elections and beating his opponents by sizeable margins. However, discontentment on living cost issues and an increase in the number of voters this year appear to offer hope for the Opposition.