For the 1st time ever the EC reportedly see the point to provide transport to voters who are caught in heavy downpour in a by-election! The body should have seen this years ago and started way back when many more voters are also similarly hamstrung due to rain, no river crossing, costly travel to polling centre etc. The consequences of not doing this is: political parties will use the excuse to provide transport to keep on campaigning up to the polling day-thus violating the international norm of not campaigning at the point of polling. The test of the EC’s fairness in election administration: can the transports be provided fairly in all areas compared to BN strongholds in the FELDA’s?
The principle issue is: voters should be left to cast their vote in a calm and free environment in respect of the principle of free elections. In Malaysia both sides of politics pay scant respect to this principle-even though there have always been provision of a calming period after the eve of the polling day. In neighbouring Indonesia the claming period stretched 3 days ahead of the poll, where all posters and banners need to be torn down!
But a strange historical provision allow political parties and candidates to provide river transport for voters to travel to polling station, even though road transport is prohibited.
Some relevant news reports:
01.10pm: Heavy duty vehicles are transporting voters heading to the polling centres at Kampung Sawah Baru, Ladang Voules and Tenang station as the access roads are flooded. Polling stations remain open.(Star)
2.05pm: 846 people from several villages in Tenang have been evacuated to relief centres due to floods. Among the villages are Kampung Lembah Bakti, Kg Usaha Jaya, Kg Air Panas and Kg Batu Badak.(Star)
12.15pm: Police say boats are on standby at Kampung Paya Merah Lama, Kampung Air Panas and Felda Redong to ferry voters if needed.
Ed; So far no polling centre is closed and no road is closed either. DAP is complaining that the transports (lori and boats) are helping BN voters compared to town voters. Need to be verified.