GE15 Nomination Day is happening this weekend, and then Malaysia will enter 14 days of intense campaigning before polling day on 19 November. Find out how to vote, where to vote and more in this tight explainer on Malaysia’s 15th General Elections.
>> What is the electoral process in Malaysia?
As Malaysia is a parliamentary democracy (and constitutional monarchy), we have elections to vote for the parliamentary representative of our choice.
Malaysia’s election process uses a first-past-the-post system that’s based on a simple majority. This means that whichever political party or coalition (an alliance of parties) wins 112 parliamentary seats out of the 222 seats in Malaysia’s parliament will form the government.
Elections are usually held every five years unless the prime minister declares an earlier date. On 10 October 2022, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri announced the dissolution of parliament paving the way for the 15th General Elections (GE15).
The Election Commission (EC) then announced 5 November as the nomination date (for parties to nominate their candidates) and 19 November 2022 as the polling day. There are over 21 million eligible voters, according to the EC.
>> I’m 18 years old. Am I able to vote in GE15?
After the Undi18 Bill was gazetted last year, anyone turning 18 years old after 31 December 2021 will be automatically registered in the electoral roll. Prior to this, the eligible age for voting was 21 years old and one had to manually register to become a voter.
However, the process takes around 1-1.5 months after your 18th birthday because, among other procedures, it has to be validated by the Attorney General’s Chambers.
If you are 18 years old and unsure of your registration status, you can check your voter registration status on the MySPR Semak app here.
Did you know? Undi18 was a landmark bill that received 100% of votes in both the upper and lower houses, to lower the minimum voting age from 21 to 18 years old. Undi18 started off as a youth movement in 2016 and is a social enterprise focusing on voter education and youth public policy engagement.
>> How do I physically cast my vote?
If you are registered in the electoral roll and residing in Malaysia, you will be assigned a polling station where you can go to cast your vote on polling day.
The polling stations will be open from 8am to 6pm, but there is a suggested time slot assigned to each voter for crowd control and to minimise waiting time. Here is what happens once you arrive at the polling station:
- Queue up for identity verification.
- Once verified, a finger on your left hand (usually the forefinger) will be marked with indelible ink. This ink will not wash off for a week and is done to prevent double-voting.
- Your name will then be checked off the electoral roll and you will be handed your ballot paper(s).
- You walk up to an individual booth and mark a clear ‘X’ next to your candidate and party symbol of choice. You can only choose one.
- Once you have finished, fold your ballot paper(s) and drop them in the respective ballot boxes for the parliamentary seat and state assembly seat.
- You’re done!
- Remember to bring your MyKad / IC as this will be used to confirm your identity before you are allowed to vote
- Do not wear clothes or accessories with political party affiliations or symbols when you go to vote. Do not carry signs encouraging voters to vote for a specific party or candidate. You can be jailed, fined or both.
- Carefully check your ballot paper. Every ballot paper is marked with a unique serial number and certified stamp. Make sure it is not torn or marked, and there are no misprints to avoid your vote being classified as a spoiled vote. If you are unsure about your ballot paper, check with any EC officer present.
- Hold off on the manicures or painted nails. As you will have to dip your finger into indelible ink, it’s better to wait until after the election (and the ink has washed off) to get that manicure!
- Phones are prohibited in the voting station. Please place your phone on mute and do not take it out until you have voted and exited the voting station.
- Don’t accept gifts including food or beverages from people you don’t know. It can be constituted as bribery and is illegal.
>> I registered as a postal voter. What happens now?
If you are a postal voter (the deadline for application was 23 October), the EC will be sending postal ballots to your overseas address after nomination day (5 November). You will need to ensure your ballot makes it back to the returning officers at your respective constituency in Malaysia by polling day (19 November).
Bersih and the Global Malaysian Network are supporting Malaysians overseas and looking for volunteers who will be travelling to Malaysia from 10-18 November to help bring ballots back home.
If you would like to connect with other Malaysian postal voters regarding GE15, volunteer or seek clarification regarding the voting process, you can head over to Global Malaysian Network Facebook Group or Malaysian GE15 Overseas Postal Voting FAQ (managed by Global Bersih).
>> Who am I actually voting for?
You will be voting for the parliamentary representative (MP) you wish to see elected. If your state assembly was also dissolved simultaneously, you will also be voting for the state assemblyman/woman (ADUN) you wish to see elected. If you are in a federal territory where there is no state assembly, you will only vote for the MP.
Once the candidates have been nominated and officially accepted by the EC on 5 November, political parties will not be able to change their candidates.
You will not be voting directly for the prime minister. He or she will be selected from the winning party/coalition’s Members of Parliament. However, parties or coalitions will usually announce their candidate for prime minister during the campaigning process.
For GE15, so far the official candidates for prime minister are:
- Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri (Barisan Nasional)
- Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim (Pakatan Harapan)
- Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin (Perikatan Nasional)
>> Why are some states not holding state elections this time around?
In general, state assemblies are dissolved simultaneously with the dissolution of parliament in order to save the cost of running another election.
However, some states recently held state elections and opposition-led states (Penang, Selangor and Negeri Sembilan) have stated they will not be dissolving their state assemblies in conjunction with GE15 for various reasons.
If you are voting in these states, you will only have to vote for your parliamentary representative (MP). If you are voting in a state where the legislative assembly has been dissolved (Pahang, Perlis and Perak), you will vote for the assemblyman/woman of your choice as well.
>> How do I find out my status and where my polling station is?
The easiest way to check both your voter registration status and designated polling station for GE15 is through the MySPR Semak app here. Enter your IC number and verify that you are not a bot, then click Semak and your details should appear.
You can also contact the EC hotline: 03-8892 7018
Every vote counts, so let’s exercise our right to contribute to the future of Malaysia.
As Malaysians, we have been given the privilege and responsibility of having a voice in determining our country’s leaders and government. As Christians, it is also our duty to take part in civic affairs, honour the government and advance justice and equity.
Our nation has weathered a pandemic, political instability and economic pressures over the past few years. But we are still standing. Now, the future lies before us and we have a chance to build a tomorrow that is filled with peace, righteousness, compassion and justice.
So don’t think that your vote is not important, or that it will not make a difference. Your vote matters because our country’s future depends on us. If we love Malaysia, the nation God has placed us in today, voting is not an option.
He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.micah 6:8
- Bersih: Join the GE15 ‘amazing race’ and help bring postal votes home, 25 October 2022, The Star
- CNA Explains: How does postal voting work for Malaysia’s 15th general election, 18 October 2022, CNA
- Selangor assembly will not be dissolved, says MB, 12 October 2022, The Star
- Malaysia’s next PM: A race to the top, 1 November 2022, The Straits Times
- Factbox: How Malaysia’s election system works, 20 October 2022, Reuters
- GE15: 5 things to take note of when casting your vote, 28 October 2022, The Star
- General Voting Procedures, Global Bersih