The Election Commission, being a neutral body as claimed, may have inadvertently hammered Barisan Nasional on its toes and handed Putrajaya to the opposition this time around!
While all may look pompous for Barisan Nasional after revealing their GE14 manifesto, the Election Commission’s (EC) decision to hold the polls on a weekday may not be that favourable to the former ruling party (currently caretaker government).
It could have poured cold water on all of BN’s hard work.
May 9, as we know, falls on a Wednesday, which is a working day for majority of the voters.
With the assumption that caretaker PM Najib Razak had no influence on the EC’s decision, calling the polls on a Wednesday could backfire on BN to win the elections.
Though statistically a lower turnout of voters has been favourable to BN in the past, the same may not be the case in the coming general election.
The mechanics and socio-economic demographics are no longer similar in their patterns, so much so that one could not extrapolate and assume that BN has a sure winner in its bag with a lower voter turnout.
The voter sentiment for and against BN is not as straightforward to predict especially with the exceptional use of the social media, even if compared to the last general election in 2013.
Immediately after the EC’s announcement on the date, netizens took to the various social media platforms to voice their displeasure – with most not seeing the rationale as to why the EC has ignored the inconvenience it would cause to voters.
Though it is the right of the voters to get time off from work to head to the polling stations, many may opt to skip instead as they have to report back to work after casting their votes.
Even though a public holiday has been declared for May 9, it would not be practical for those living or working a distance away from their polling centres. Let’s not forget that the following day is also a working day.
For example, those working in Kuala Lumpur or Penang may not see the practicality of going back to Kelantan, Terengganu, Sabah, Sarawak and Pahang to cast their vote. Same goes to those coming from abroad.
The issue is no longer about getting the time off but rather the mileage Pakatan and other opposition parties are riding on to stir the feeling of anger, dissatisfaction and the burden of costs undertaken by voters on a working day.
The stiff competition with multi-cornered fights would be a precedent this time around, thus the theory of a lower voter turnout is a blessing for BN may just turn out to be otherwise. Every single decision impacts the voter.
On the other hand, though schools will be closed on May 9, those that will be turned into polling centres may have to also rest their students and staff on May 8 (Tuesday) to allow EC personnel to prepare the centres.
The EC, being a neutral body as claimed, may have just inadvertently hammered BN in its toes and handed Putrajaya to the opposition this time around!