by ASILA JALIL / pic by BERNAMA
MELAKA state election will see multi-cornered fights in all 28 of its state seats, including six-cornered fights expected in Asahan, Duyong and Gadek.
In total, there are 112 nominees for the polls with Barisan Nasional (BN), Pakatan Harapan (PH) and Perikatan Nasional (PN) contesting all 28 state seats, along with 22 independent candidates, five from Parti Bumiputra Perkasa Malaysia (Putra) and one from Parti Perikatan India Muslim Nasional (Iman).
The number of candidates increased by 27 compared to the 14th General Election, which saw only 85 nominees.
Election Commission chairman Datuk Abdul Ghani Salleh said five-cornered fights are expected in five seats namely in Rembia, Machap Jaya, Paya Rumput, Pengkalan Batu and Bemban.
Kuala Linggi, Durian Tunggal, Sungai Udang, Bukit Katil, Ayer Molek, Sungai Rambai, Serkam, Telok Mas and Bandar Hilir will see four-cornered fights.
Three-cornered fights are expected to take place in Tanjung Bidara, Lendu, Taboh Naning, Ayer Limau, Pantai Kundor, Ayer Keroh, Kelebang, Kesidang, Kota Laksamana, Rim and Merlimau.
To ensure contestants adhere to physical distancing and other standard operating procedures, he said contestants are not allowed to hold talks that will lead to a congregation.
Walkabouts and house visits are also not allowed throughout the campaigning period.
“Candidates can maximise campaigning methods by using social media or other online platforms.
“Candidates are also allowed to hold campaigns from their vehicles with attached loudspeakers at a permitted time given by the authorities.
“Vehicles that have loudspeakers are not allowed to stop along the route while contestants are giving their speech.”
Three of the state’s former chief ministers are contesting — namely Datuk Seri Sulaiman Md Ali in Lendu, Adly Zahari in Bukit Katil and Datuk Seri Idris Haron in Asahan.
Other seats to look out for during the by-election include Tanjung Bidara, which will feature a three-cornered fight involving BN’s Datuk Seri Ab Rauf Yusoh, Masjid Tanah MP Datuk Mas Ermieyati Samsudin, who is contesting under the PN ticket, and Zainal Hassan from PH.
Umno will also contest with its partner in Muafakat Nasional, PAS, in seven seats — namely Merlimau, Duyong, Serkam, Durian Tunggal, Kuala Linggi, Taboh Naning and Bukit Katil.
Meanwhile, PH’s Communication, Digital & Media committee urges the Malaysian Communication and Multimedia Ministry to provide an equal platform for all contestants to campaign on official media platforms.
In a statement yesterday, the committee proposed three measures to the government including a 30-minute allocation for each political party every night at TV1, TV2 and Bernama TV.
“Provide at least 60 minutes to each party everyday for ceramah in Melaka FM and Bernama Radio, and host forums represented by each party at least once on official TV and radio throughout the campaigning period in Melaka,” it said.
The committee said campaigns via social media may not reach voters that do not have Internet coverage, stable telecommunication connection or smartphones.
Those who are digitally illiterate may be left behind and not receive accurate updates on the political parties.
“They certainly have access to more traditional information channels such as radio, television and newspapers. This will result in information access gaps as well as delays in democratic practices that must be addressed,” it added.