GE15: Interested In Doing More Than To Just Vote? Read On.

By Michelle Ng

As polling day dawns, the laws of Malaysia mandates that all election candidates cease campaigning. It is at this point that the country’s final defense to clean and fair elections roll up their sleeves – this lesser-known role are known as Polling Agents and Counting Agents.

Polling Agents and Counting Agents are representatives of each candidate. They fulfil their call of duty in each polling stream (otherwise known as classrooms).

A Polling Agent’s duty begins early in the morning – together with the officers of the Election Commission, they run through each ballot to ensure that they are properly issued, that the ballot box is in proper condition and that the classroom is free from political influence. This means:- checking that each counterfoil and ballot are properly stamped, accounting for each ballot, sealing the ballot box and removing any political image from the classroom.

During polling, the Polling Agent’s role is to ensure that procedure is properly followed for each voter – that the election officers check the voters’ identification card against the bearer, that the voters’ names are struck out after they have casted their vote and that the voter’s finger is properly marked with indelible ink. This is to prevent anyone from double voting.

The role of Counting Agents on the other hand, are, as the term suggests, to count the ballots that have been casted. Their role is to assess each ballot and determine the voters’ intention, account for the ballots casted for their candidates and ensure that the number of votes casted tallies with the number of ballots issued earlier in the day. Where the margin of a particular candidate’s winnings (or loss) is slim, the Counting Agent may ask for a recount. The Counting Agent may also then follow the ballot box all the way to the Counting Centre – to ensure that no ballots are added along the way.

Polling Agents and Counting Agents play a crucial role – whichever political party they represent; democracy lies in their hands. Those who have voted before would recall instances in the previous general elections where there were allegations of red IC bearers voting, blackouts occurring during vote counting, and ballots added when no one is looking.

The only way to prevent all these from happening is for all of us to do our part. And so I appeal to you – it does not matter which candidate you sign up for as a Polling Agent or Counting Agent. If you are keen on defending democracy – sign up.

For Subang Jaya in particular, the number of PACAs required has increased from 250 to 550, given Undi18 and automatic voter registration. Your participation matters – if you are interested in doing more than just vote, you may sign up here: