KUALA LUMPUR: Opposition leader Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail has called on the Election Commission (EC) to put in place a minimum campaigning period of 21 days.
Azizah (PKR-Permatang Pauh) told Dewan Rakyat that this was needed to allow candidates and parties to effectively reach voters for the 14th General Election.
She quoted Article 55 (4) of the Federal Constitution which provides that polls must be held 60 days after the dissolution of Parliament to stress that there was no reason to restrict the campaigning period.
"For GE14, I would like to suggest for EC to consider setting a minimum of 21 days for campaigning to allow candidates and parties to approach the voters," said Dr Wan Azizah when debating the royal address.
She noted that during the general elections in 1959, 1964 and 1969, the campaigns ran for at least 35 days.
This was however shortened to 16 days in 1974 and shortened again to 15 days when Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad sought his first mandate in 1982. It was later cut down again to 10 days in the three general elections after that.
"The duration was shortened to nine days in 1999, and eight days in 2004, which was the shortest period in the GE history," she said.
In 2008 under the Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi administration, the campaign period was again raised to 13 days. In GE 14, the EC declared a campaign period of 15 days. - Reporting by Nazura Ngah; Hidir Reduan; Fairul Asmaini Mohd Pilus; Veena Babulal; Luqman Arif Abdul Karim and Ahmad Suhael Adnan
* Report by NAZURA NGAH; HIDIR REDUAN; FAIRUL ASMAINI MOHD PILUS; VEENA BABULAL; LUQMAN ARIF ABDUL KARIM , AHMAD SUHAEL ADNAN