2022 Malaysian general elections

Voting FAQ

Why should you vote and how? What are the dos and don’ts?
Some see voting as a duty. Others don’t see a purpose. In this section, learn about how voting affects you, what you should consider when voting and how to vote.
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Before Election

Getting ready to vote

Where do I vote?

search-location
Check your voting details here. Your voting station is listed under "daerah mengundi".

If you are unsure where that is, enquire with your local Election Commission office, police station or local authorities.

Getting ready to vote

Can I vote online?

No. There are only three ways for you to vote for a member of Parliament or state assemblyperson.

Firstly, you will have to vote in person on the designated polling day.

Secondly, if you are a civil servant or uniformed personnel working on polling day, you might qualify for early voting - voting a few days before the actual polling day. This is also done in person.

Thirdly, if you are an Election Commission staff and a member of the press working on polling day; or if you are military or police personnel who cannot be an early voter, you can apply to be a postal voter.

Lastly, if you are residing abroad, you can apply to be a postal voter.

However, do mind the deadlines to apply for postal voting.

Getting ready to vote

Why am I listed as a voter although I did not register to do so?

After Dec 15, 2021 all Malaysians above the age of 18 are automatically added to the voter list.

Getting ready to vote

I am over 18 but I’m not on the voter list. What should I do?

If you just turned 18, you might have missed the cut-off date. If that is not the case, you should file a complaint with the Election Commission and the police.

Getting ready to vote

How is my constituency decided?

The Federal Constitution states that a voter must be a resident within a constituency to qualify as a voter. In practice, most voters belong to a constituency as determined by the address on their identity cards.

Getting ready to vote

What is a "daerah mengundi"?

Voters within a constituency are divided into "daerah mengundi" (voting districts).

Usually, there is only one voting centre in a "daerah mengundi".

Even though the "daerah mengundi" information is available to voters on the Election Commission website, it is not crucial compared to knowing where the relevant voting centre is located.

Getting ready to vote

What is a “saluran”?

The “saluran” (polling stream) denotes the actual ballot box you will use.

In rural voting centres, there will be just one “saluran”. In big voting centres, there could be a dozen.

In voting centres where there are more than one “saluran”, voters are usually arranged according to age - those in “saluran 1” tend to be older than those in “saluran 2”.

For example, the Taman Seremban Jaya polling district in the Rasah parliamentary constituency has 17 “saluran”. “Saluran 1” was allocated to the most senior voters while the youngest voters voted in “saluran 17”.

You can see which “saluran” you belong to when inspecting your voting details on the Election Commission website.

mymp
Check out the story to find out how the youngest and oldest voters in Peninsular Malaysia voted in GE14, based on the data analysis of the polling streams.

Getting ready to vote

My state is not holding a state election, what should I do?

During a “general election”, most states will hold legislative assembly elections concurrently with Parliamentary elections.

Therefore, if your state is not holding legislative assembly (DUN) elections, you can still vote for a representative to Parliament.

If you want to vote for a member of the state legislative assembly, you will have to wait until an election is called.

Getting ready to vote

Can I change where I vote?

Yes. But you won't be able to change your voting constituency in time for GE15 because voter lists are finalised monthly.

Updating of addresses on the voter list can be performed at post offices or at the Election Commission branches.

You will need to provide proof of domicile and have your address on MyKad updated.

Getting ready to vote

I am currently abroad and I want to vote. What can I do?

Check the Election Commission website for details on how to register for postal voting. Please mind the deadlines.

Getting ready to vote

What should I consider before voting?

You may want to consider the policy positions taken by the candidates or parties seeking your vote.

You may also want to consider if the candidate has been living beyond his or her means.

mymp
If your MP is seeking re-election, you can use this tool by the MyMP project to inspect their attendance record and questions asked in the Dewan Rakyat.
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Polling Day & Post Election

Voting

How do I vote?

Step 1
Locate your voting station - usually a school or community hall nearest to you.
Step 2
Bring along your identity card and do not wear any paraphernalia with political party logos.
Step 3
You'll be instructed to line up for a ballot box.
Step 4
Election ushers will cross your name from a voter list, hand you a ballot and mark your fingers with ink.
Step 5
At the ballot booth, draw a cross next to the name of your preferred candidate.
Step 6
Place the ballot slip into the ballot box.

Voting

Is my vote a secret?

Each ballot will come with a unique serial number that is not linked to your identity. Therefore, your vote will be kept a secret.

Voting

Why am I given two ballot papers?

All voters will get a chance to choose their members of Parliament. Some voters will be able to choose their representative for the state legislative assembly if such elections were held concurrently.

Voting

What is the purpose of the indelible ink on my finger?

The indelible ink is used to mark those who have received their ballot papers at the polling stations and prevent them from doing so multiple times.

However, voters who are qualified to vote by post are not marked. Such voters are a minority.

Voting

Can I vote if my nails are painted?

Yes. The Election Commission staff will apply indelible ink on other parts of your fingers. If you don't have fingers, other parts of your hand or arm can be marked.

Voting

Can I bring my smart phone to the ballot box?

No. Before marking your ballot at the booth, you have to surrender your smart phone to the presideing officer.

You can collect your smart phone after voting.

Voting

The polling staff told me I already voted, what then?

If you have reasons to believe that someone voted on your behalf, file a police report.

Voting

What should I be mindful of at the polling centre?

illustration

Keep quiet. No one is allowed to canvas for votes within 50m of the polling centres. This includes donning party paraphernalia, such as t-shirts or hats. Unauthorised photography, video recording and live streaming are prohibited as well.

Voting

Can I write my name on the ballot papers?

No. There is a risk of your ballot being considered "spoiled" or void.

Defacing a ballot paper is also a crime under Section 3(1)(b) of the Election Offences Act 1954.

Voting

Can I take my ballot paper home?

No. Removing ballot papers from polling stations is a crime under Section 3(1)(h) of the Election Offences Act 1954.

Voting

Can I sell my ballot paper?

No. Selling ballot papers is a crime under Section 3(1)(e) of the Election Offences Act 1954.

Voting

Can I print my own ballot paper?

No. Printing ballot papers to be used in the election without authority is a crime under Section 3(1)(j) of the Election Offences Act 1954.

Voting

Can I vote in more than one state?

No. The Election Commission determines the constituency of a new voter based on the address stated in the new voter's MyKad.

Voters can update their address with Election Commission once a new address is stated in their MyKad.

Voting at any election, that one is not entitled to, is a crime under Section 3(1)(l) of the Election Offences Act 1954.

Voting

I am a Party X supporter. Why are they not on my ballot paper?

Not every party will field a candidate in your constituency. Sometimes, parties participate in an election as part of a coalition and use a different logo.

Voting

Can I take a photograph of my ballot and share it on social media?

No. That would constitute a violation of Section 5(2) and Section 5(3) of the Elections Offences Act 1954.

Vote counting

What happens after voting?

Voting will take place between 8am and 6pm in Peninsular Malaysia and between 7.30am and 5.30pm in Sabah and Sarawak.

Once voting is over, votes will be counted in front of scrutineers comprising representatives of the candidates. Once the counting is completed, the head of the polling station and scrutineers will sign Form 14 to finalise the results.

A returning officer (officer in charge of an election) will collect Form 14 to tally the results.

Vote counting

Can a voter stay back at a polling station to monitor possible election offences?

No, voters must leave the polling station after voting. No loitering.

Vote counting

Where can I follow the tally?

You can log onto Malaysiakini to follow the count live. During the 2018 election, Malaysiakini was the first news organisation to announce who won the federal election. Malaysiakini will also provide you with live expert analysis.

Vote counting

How is an election winner determined?

Malaysia follows a "first-past-the-post" system. The candidate with the most votes will be elected, regardless of whether the candidate has a majority or not.

For example, there were six candidates vying for the Maharani seat during the 2022 Johor state elections. The winner had only the support of 36 percent of the people who voted.

This system can create governments with overwhelming control over a legislature, with less than 50 percent support from the electorate as was seen during the 2022 Johor elections.

Vote counting

What if there is no single political party or coalition that has the majority?

The elected lawmakers from different parties or coalitions will have to work out who among them should be the prime minister. This has happened before in Sabah, Perak and Kedah during the 2018 elections.

Vote counting

If a political party or coalition has won the election, what happens next?

Yang di-Pertuan Agong shall appoint an MP whom his majesty believe commands the majority support of his peers as prime minister. The state ruler or governor will perform similar functions at the state level by choosing a menteri besar, chief minister or premier.

Vote counting

I am unsatisfied with the election result, what can I do?

Any person with evidence of a violation of the election process can file a petition to nullify an election result. Most petitions are unsuccessful. The most recent successful election petition happened in 2018, resulting in fresh elections for Kimanis being called.

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Election 101

Voting

What am I voting for?

You will be voting for a member of Parliament (MP) and a state assemblyperson if your state is holding a concurrent legislative assembly election.

Voting

How do I register to vote?

You don't have to. Since December 2021, all citizens over the age of 18 are automatically added to the voter list. New lists are finalised monthly.

Voting

Why should I vote?

Everyone pays taxes, directly and indirectly, to the federal government, state government and local authorities.

In turn, these governments spend the taxes based on the instructions of legislative bodies - Parliament, state legislative assemblies or a municipal council.

The legislative bodies also legislate - create, abolish or amend laws.

During an election, Malaysians choose their representatives to sit on those legislative bodies.

Voting

Can I not vote?

Absolutely. Abstention is a democratic right.

Members of Parliament

What is a Parliament?

A Parliament is a body that makes laws. It creates, amends or abolishes laws.

State legislative assemblies serve similar functions.

Members of Parliament

What does an MP do?

At the most basic level, an MP represents a constituency in Parliament by debating and voting on proposed laws (bills) and proposing actions to be taken by Parliament (motions).

An MP can also take on other roles such as becoming prime minister, a member of the cabinet (assistant to the prime minister) and a member of a select committee (official groupings of MPs with special functions).

Individual MPs can also suggest topics to be discussed by Parliament and propose laws (private members’ bill).

infographic
For a comparison of the different roles played by MPs, state assembly persons and local councillors, please check out this infographic by Sinar Project.

Members of Parliament

Should I consider an MP’s ‘service’ record?

Some MPs provide various "services" to their constituents purely for popularity although no law requires them to.

For example, some MPs will meet voters once a week to try to resolve issues related to local authorities, scholarship applications, donations and other non-legislative issues.

Not all MPs provide such "services" just as not all MPs actively legislate.

Members of Parliament

A candidate said he can bring 'development'. Is that a function of an MP?

No. However, since an MP has access to cabinet ministers who control a budget, the MP can lobby for public infrastructure, grants and other funding which can benefit a constituency.

This can lead to abuse.

game-controller
Check out this game to understand more about how MPs spend their money and time on their constituents.

Members of Parliament

What happens if my MP switches parties after being elected?

Under the newly created Article 49A of the Federal Constitution, an MP will have to vacate their seat if: 1) The MP resigns from the political party that he or she was a member of upon being elected; or, 2) The MP joins a different political party after being elected.

State assemblypersons are not bound to similar laws except in Penang and Perlis.

Political parties and coalitions

What is a political party or coalition?

A political party is a group of politicians with shared ideas on how a government should be run.

In the Malaysian context, political parties usually form coalitions before an election in order to consolidate their respective supporters under one team.

The executive

What is the executive?

The executive executes or implements the law.

The cabinet meets weekly to make executive decisions.

Cabinet members also oversee regulatory agencies and government-linked companies.

pantaukuasa
Learn more about this topic on Ideas’ Pantau Kuasa website.

The executive

What is the prime minister?

The prime minister is the most powerful member of Dewan Rakyat (lower house of Parliament) or "first among equals".

Weekly cabinet meetings are typically chaired by the prime minister.

The prime minister has the power to decide on the agenda of Parliament and nominate cabinet members that will execute powers prescribed in Acts (laws).

The prime minister also advises the Yang di-Pertuan Agong on many important functions, such as key appointments for judges, members of the Dewan Negara (upper house of Parliament), the police and the attorney-general.

The executive

Can I choose the prime minister?

Not directly. Malaysians can choose an MP - their representative that will sit in the Dewan Rakyat. In turn, the MPs will choose among themselves who will be prime minister.

Once the Yang di-Pertuan Agong is convinced one MP has the majority support of his or her peers, then that MP would be made prime minister.

The executive

What is a menteri besar, chief minister or premier?

The equivalent of the prime minister in a state government can either be a menteri besar, chief minister or, only in the case of Sarawak, a premier.

The executive

What is a cabinet?

The cabinet is appointed by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong to advise him on his duties.

The Agong first appoints a prime minister and then, on the advice of the prime minister, appoints other cabinet members.

Cabinet members must either be an MP (member of the Dewan Rakyat) or senator (member of the Dewan Negara).

Constituency

How are the boundaries of constituencies decided?

As of April 2022, the largest Parliamentary constituency was Bangi, in Selangor. This constituency has 300,943 voters.

The smallest is Igan in Sarawak with 28,228 voters. This meant that the Bangi constituency has 10.67 times more voters than Igan.

This is a phenomenon known as malapportionment.

malapportionment
How does malapportionment affect you?
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Credits

Published by Kini News Lab on Oct 20, 2022.

Project coordinator
Andrew Ong & Lee Long Hui
Researcher & Writer
Andrew Ong & Lee Long Hui
Designer & Developer
Yan Jing Tian, Ooi Choon Nam & Lee Long Hui
Illustrator
Yan Jing Tian & Syariman Badrulzaman
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introKini News Lab
Kini News Lab is a dedicated team specialising in visual storytelling and data journalism.

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Kini News Lab is a dedicated team specialising in visual storytelling and data journalism.
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