Malaysia’s GE15 guide: The do’s and don’ts of voting

On Nov. 19, Malaysian voters will head to the polls and decide who deserves their vote and which political party they want as a government for the next few years.

If you’re a first-time voter in your early 20s, this election may come off as very confusing and that’s okay because you’re not alone. We are quite sure that the group of uncles hanging out at your nearest taman are also feeling the same.

While you do your research on who and which political party to vote for, this article aims to prepare you for the big day.

In case you didn’t know, there are 222 seats in the parliament of Malaysia, which are distributed among its 13 states and three federal territories.

In the impending 15th general election, political parties will compete for supremacy for all 222 seats in parliament.

First-past-the-post voting will be used to conduct the election. Therefore, political parties frequently establish alliances to prevent the spoiler effect that could arise in a multi-cornered election.

The federal election and state elections frequently coincide, but this election would be an exception since not all state governments were dissolved.

As of Oct. 9, the electoral roll for the upcoming polls contained more than 21 million voters.

Now, before we get you to the polling location, let’s make sure you know where you’re supposed to vote and the best time to go to prevent congestion.

Download the MySPR Semak app, click on ‘Semakan Daftar Pemilih’ and fill in your MyKad identification number. 

Filling in your IC number and clicking ‘Semak’ would automatically direct you to a page where you will all have the details you need in order to vote.

On the ‘Semakan Daftar Pemilih’ page, you can see your voting station under ‘Pusat Mengundi’, while at the bottom, SPR suggests a time for you to cast your vote to prevent traffic at the station (best to follow it!).

Now that you know where and what time you’re supposed to vote, let’s get down to it!

The do’s and don’ts during voting day on Nov. 19 

Remember these or you risk getting a death stare from the polling officers.

1. Bring your MyKad (IC) 

Picture for illustration purposes only.

Officials at the voting station will first verify your identity to ensure you are a Malaysian citizen. Make sure you carry your MyKad in its original form and not a photocopy.

2. Put your mobile phone on silent upon arriving at the voting station 

Photo: Made with smartmockups

Leave those Tiktok moves at home and quit worrying about whether your Tinder date ghosted you, instead, focus on not messing up your vote because the fate of the country is in your hands so keep that phone on silent.

3. Do not wear clothes that represent a political party 

Photo: Made with smartmockups/Right t-shirt design by CustomOne

Wearing items like hats, brooches, or earrings that are associated with a political party is prohibited.

For instance, it’s inappropriate to wear apparel with your preferred party’s insignia or the phrase “vote for” on it.

The Election Offences Act of 1954 states that anyone caught wearing clothing emblazoned with a candidate’s name or symbol faces up to a year in prison, a fine of up to RM5,000, or both (Akta Kesalahan Pilihan Raya 1954).

The law also prohibits voters from entering 50 metres of any voting place while wearing clothes that bear a candidate’s name or a political party’s emblem or symbol.

4. Skip your nail appointment

Photo: Max Pixels

Don’t waste your money getting a nail appointment before casting your vote or else you will have one finger dipped in ink and would have a hard time explaining to people why your nails look out of place.

5. Double-check your ballot paper 

Photo: SPR Malaysia

Each ballot paper includes a certified stamp and a serial number. Make sure your ballots are not ripped, printed incorrectly, or marked in error. Ask an EC officer for assistance if your ballot has any irregularities.

What’s the voting procedure going to be like? 

A voter can make only one vote for each type in an election. After identity verification at a voting centre, on a finger on the left hand, an indelible link is put which lasts its impression for a week.

This is done to prevent voters from casting multiple ballots in the same election. The voter is given the ballot papers when the officials cross the voter’s name off the electoral list. Two paper ballots are given to each voter: one is for the state assembly seat and the other is for the constituency’s parliamentary seat.

However, keep in mind that not all state governments were dissolved this time around, hence why you might not be handed two ballot papers.

Each voter walks into an individual booth to mark ballots while maintaining confidentiality.

The voter marks on each ballot the candidate of his or her choice with a cross beside the candidate’s name and party symbol.

After completing, the voter folds the ballots and drops them into separate ballot boxes for parliamentary and state assembly seats.

The whole process will be observed by election officials and agents of candidates and parties.

Other stories you should check out: 

Election Explainer: Can Malaysia’s Umno survive its civil war and win GE15?

#CarpoolGE15 aims to make sure Malaysians balik kampung and vote 

No room for hate: Malaysia’s Centre for Independent Journalism launches ‘Say No To Hate Speech’ portal ahead of GE15 | Coconuts