Suruhanjaya Pilihan Raya Malaysia (SPR) or the Election Commission of Malaysia was constitutionally established in 1957 under Article 114 of the Federal Constitution.
The Constitution (Article 113) provides that the important functions of preparing and revising electoral rolls, reviewing and delineating electoral constituencies, and the conduct of elections are to be carried out by the Election Commission in accordance with federal law.
The Election Commission of Malaysia consists of a chair, a deputy chair and five members. It is responsible for accepting candidates, election process, definitive results, and appeals and complaints.
According to the Elections Act 1958, the Election Commission’s general powers and duties are;
- Control and supervise over the conduct of elections and the registration of electors on the electoral rolls, and enforce on the part of all election officers’ fairness, and impartiality
- Provide directions to the election officers to ensure effective performance.
- Identify polling districts and polling stations
- Delineate of constituencies
- Appoint the officers
- Register the electors
- Prepare, publicize and revise electoral roll
- Certify or re-certify electoral roll
An election is held within 60 days from the date that the House of Representatives or the State Legislative Assembly is dissolved. A Malaysian citizen, who is at least 21 years old on the nomination day, can represent a party or stand as an independent candidate. He or she must be a resident of the state if contesting a state seat.
The papers must be submitted between 9am and 10am on the nomination day by the candidate, the proposer and seconder or by any one of them. Between 10am and 11am, the nomination papers will be displayed for scrutiny and objection. If only one candidate is nominated, the Returning Officer will declare him/her as elected without contest.
A campaign can only begin after the nomination process is completed and should end at midnight before the polling day.
A voter casts his/her vote for one candidate only by marking the ballot paper with a sign “X” against the name of the chosen candidate. After marking the ballot paper, the voter folds it and puts it into the ballot box.
Postal votes are mailed, as early as possible, to electors who are entitled to vote by this method. They usually are personnel from the armed forces, Police Field Force, election officials on duty, government officers serving overseas, students studying overseas, and spouses. Postal votes must reach the Returning Officer by 5pm on polling day.
After the poll results are publicized in the Gazette, the election petition can be presented to the High Court within 21 days. After conducting a trial, if the judge decides the elections to be void, the Election Commission will give notice of a fresh election for the constituency concerned.
Regarding the disposal of election documents, they will be kept for six months in the Returning Officer’s custody. The boxes are only to be opened in petition cases, under the order of a High Court judge. After six months, the returning officer will destroy the ballot papers and documents with permission from the Election Commission. Then, the returning officer will submit a certificate of disposal to the State Election Officer.
Link : Election Commission of Malaysia Official Website
PDF : Briefing on Electoral System and Management GE 2013
PDF : The Influence of Electoral Laws on the Conduct of Elections in Malaysia (Ng Chak Ngoon)
PDF : Summary of The EC’s Clarifications On The Issues of The Electoral Roll And The Improvement of Electoral Process
PDF : Electoral Politics in Malaysia: “Managing” Elections in a Plural Society (Lim Hong Hai)
PDF : Voting for Democracy: Aspects of Malaysian Elections (Datuk Harun Din: 1998)
Link : Malaysia Electoral System (The Nut Graph: 2013)