What Happens on Nomination Day?

KUALA LUMPUR: Come November 5, hundreds of prospective candidates will throw their hats in the ring to contest in the 15th General Election (GE15).

The Federal Constitution allows all Malaysian citizens, aged 18 and above, living in the country to nominate themselves as contenders in a general election.

On nomination day, aspiring candidates can file their applications to contest for a certain seat, either as independent candidates or representing a political party.

However, unlike previous polls, GE15 candidates cannot switch their political allegiance as they wish once they are elected as members of Parliament (MPs).

Under the new anti-party hopping law, MPs who jump ship after the polls will lose their seats and so will independent MPs who formally join any political party.

Once the seat is declared vacant, a recall election would be held to elect a new MP for the affected constituency.

So, What Happens on Nomination Day?

Aspiring candidates and their proposers or seconders can file their nomination forms to the Returning Officer between 9am and 10am on nomination day. These forms must be stamped at the Stamp Office.

The forms must be accompanied by a deposit of RM10,000 for a parliamentary seat and RM5,000 for a state seat as well as a Statutory Declaration Form.

Candidates who have paid the deposit earlier must provide their receipts to the Returning Officer.

A candidate will lose the deposit if he or she fails to garner more than one-eighth of the total number of votes polled by all the candidates in the constituency.

However, a candidate can get the deposit back by withdrawing his or her candidature before 10am on nomination day or if he or she passes away before the polling day.

Otherwise, the candidate can only claim the deposit money within one year after the election results are gazetted.

Those dissatisfied with the election results may file a petition within 21 days from the date the results were published in the Gazette.

Once the nomination closes at 10am, candidates are not allowed to withdraw their applications to participate in the election.

Between 10am and 11am, the nomination forms will be displayed publicly for other candidates in the constituency and the registered voters there to raise objections, if necessary.

Can the election commision reject a Nomination?

Yes, the Returning Officer can reject a candidate’s nomination papers on several grounds.

Former candidates who failed to report their election expense returns during the previous polls are automatically disqualified.

Mentally unsound people, individuals declared bankrupt and those holding an office of profit (such as those in full-time public services) are barred from standing in an election.

Likewise, convicted individuals still serving their sentence as well as those with foreign citizenships cannot be nominated to contest in an election.

After screening each nomination papers, the Returning Officer will announce the names of all eligible candidates for each constituency.

If only one eligible candidate is available in a constituency, the Returning Officer will declare that person to have won the seat uncontested.

What happens after nomination?

Candidates and their political parties can start to woo voters and rally public support once the nomination ends.

But, they must pay election materials deposits of RM5,000 for parliamentary seats and RM3,000 for state seats as well as obtain permits from the police to organise public rallies (ceramah).

Like most general elections, GE15 candidates will be allowed to campaign for 14 days - from Nov 5 until midnight of Nov 18.

All campaigning activities are strictly prohibited on polling day. However, candidates will still be allowed to visit the polling and counting centres on that day.