Updated at 4.30pm on 27 March 2009
SUNGAI PETANI, 27 March 2009: The Election Commission (EC) has confirmed that a total of 13 candidates have paid their deposits for the Bukit Selambau by-election, including one from the Barisan Nasional (BN).
The Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) candidate S Manikumar has yet to pay the RM5,000 deposit required to contest in the state seat.
Kedah EC director Zainal Abidin Zakaria
“He has taken the form but he still has until nomination day on 29 March to submit his election deposit,” said Kedah elections director Zainal Abidin Zakaria.
The BN candidate for the by-election is Datuk S Ganesan who has also paid an additional RM3,000 deposit for posters.
The other dozen candidates who have paid their deposits are independents.
At a media briefing this morning, the EC said the high number of candidates contesting would be a logistical nightmare.
Zainal Abidin acknowledged the worry that there might not be enough time for all the candidates to file their nominations between 9am and 10am, according to regulation 6(2)(b) of the Elections (Conduct of Elections) Regulations 1981.
He cited the 13 March Federal Court decision on Pensiangan upholding as correct the disqualification of PKR candidate Danny Anthony Andipai and independent Saineh bin Usau because the two filed their nominations after 10am.
This led BN’s Tan Sri Joseph Kurup to win the seat uncontested in the 2008 general election.
Nevertheless, Zainal Abidin said that the EC would still abide by the one-hour nomination time-frame.
He said he did not anticipate any untoward incidents on nomination day.
“The police will be there for crowd control,” he said.
Zainal Abidin also said the EC will need to consider whether or not the voting slips will need to be enlarged to accommodate such a long list of candidates.
He also said that there might be a possibility that more ballot boxes would be required for each voting stream.
The many independent candidates will also need to vie for their individual election symbols from the EC after nominations are confirmed.
At present, the EC has 20 symbols that it can allocate to independent candidates.
The EC also confirmed that more than 40 nomination forms were collected, and cannot rule out the possibility of more nominations being filed come nomination day on 29 March.
PKR adviser Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim at Masjid Taman Ria
Asked to comment on the high number of independents in the race, PKR adviser Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said, “Who knows if these independents have certain sponsors backing them?”
The “sponsorship” of such a large number of independent candidates could be aimed at splitting the Indian Malaysian vote, Anwar told reporters after Friday prayers at Masjid Taman Ria.
Nevertheless, he said Pakatan Rakyat was confident that the PKR candidate would get the votes required to win the seat.
Earlier, Zainal Abidin said that the list of candidates so far was multiracial in character.