The date is set. Malaysians will head to the polls on November 19 to elect a new federal government. The 15th Malaysian general election (GE) will set a few milestones. Among those, a new law lowers the minimum voting age from 21 to 18—adding as many as 7.8 million new voters to the electoral roll—besides introducing automatic voter registration. If you are voting for the first time, it can be an exciting and slightly daunting experience. To prep you for the ballot box, we have prepared this little guide on how to vote in Malaysia for all you first-time voters!
I’m 18 And Above, How Do I Register To Vote In GE15 Malaysia?
You don’t have to scramble to learn how to register to vote in Malaysia, as you are already registered! With the gazettement of the Undi18 Bill, the electoral roll will automatically include the names of Malaysian citizens eligible to cast votes. So, there’s no need for you to do anything other than checking your voter status and voting location as well as learn how to vote in Malaysia.
How Do I Check My Voter Status?
You can check your voter registration status and where you will be casting your ballot with one of these three simple methods.
1. Election Commission’s Official Portal
Head over to https://mysprsemak.spr.gov.my and click Semakan Daftar Pemilih. Enter your MyKad/IC number (and a CAPTCHA code) and hit Semak.
2. MySPR Mobile App
3. Election Commission’s Hotline
If you do not have access to the Internet, you can call the EC hotline at 03-88927018 and provide the necessary information when requested.
What To Bring On Polling Day?
For the actual voting process, you need nothing more than your MyKad/IC. But we suggest you bring along these extra little items that will make your visit to the polling station a comfortable one (anticipate long queues and unfavourable weather!)
- A mini umbrella (to shield from the hot sun or a drizzle)
- A mini handheld fan (in case the weather gets unbearably hot)
- A hand sanitiser spray (you’ll be touching a lot of foreign objects, so hygiene first!)
- Lastly, a patient attitude (keep calm and cast your vote)
What Is The Voting Dress Code In Malaysia?
It is common to see dress code guidelines in government offices but is there a dress code for voting in Malaysia on polling day, you ask? The answer is no, as has been confirmed by the Election Commission.
Yes, you can wear shorts and slippers to your polling station if you want to keep comfy (but don’t forget public decency, people!). However, you should never wear political party shirts or you’ll be denied entry into the polling centre!
The Dos And Don’ts On Polling Day
We know, you’re excited to vote and have your say in shaping a new reality in Malaysia! But when you arrive at your polling station, there is certain decorum in place that you should adhere to (and things that you should avoid doing).
- Make sure you are well-rested and properly hydrated before making the trip to your polling station.
- Wear decent and appropriate clothing (nothing provocative or too revealing).
- Bring your MyKad/IC.
- Ensure that your nails are unpainted.
- Once you receive your voting ballots, check to see if they have a serial number and certified stamp (alert a polling officer if any of them is missing).
- Do not wear an outfit with any party’s logo/political message.
- Avoid coming to your polling station near its closing time (usually 6PM) to ensure you have sufficient time to cast your vote.
- Do not make loud noises near the voting room/hall.
- Do not use your mobile phone at any time during the voting process. Smartphone usage is prohibited inside the voting room, and you are required to hand over your phone to an election officer before casting your vote (you can collect it back before leaving the room).
- Do not take any ballot papers out of the polling station.
- Do not loiter around the polling station after casting your vote. Leave immediately.
Next, learn the all-important process of how to vote in Malaysia!
How To Vote In Malaysia? (The Voting Process)
Unsure what to do once you enter the voting room? Fret not, so does every new voter. The video above details the entire voting process in clarity, and we recommend watching it.
As for how you should mark your ballot paper for it to be counted as a valid vote, here are some important guidelines to follow:
- The safest way is to put your mark (usually an X) inside the box next to the name of your candidate of choice (see example below)
- Your mark shall not encroach into the space of the other candidates (see example below)
- You shall not leave marks on more than one candidate (see example below)
- You shall not leave your mark outside the voting box (see example below)
- You shall not draw, scribble, or write your name down anywhere on the ballot paper (see example below)
- You shall not leave your ballot paper torn in any way.
Any breach of the above will render your vote null and void (spoiled vote). You don’t want that for your first vote, right?
Together, Let’s Exercise Our Democratic Responsibilities To Have A Say In Our Country’s Future
Voting is not compulsory, but it is a responsibility. Now that you know how to vote in Malaysia, let’s put it into practice. Every single vote counts, and you’ll have a part in charting the future of our beloved country! As Abraham Lincoln once said,“The ballot is stronger than the bullet”.