Jan 27, 2007

Prove Democracy Still Alive, Zam Tells Batu Talam Voters

"Go out to vote regardless of rain, storm or floods. Election machinery workers will help bring voters to their respective polling stations. Transport is not a problem."

RAUB, Jan 27 (Bernama) -- Batu Talam voters have been urged to come out in full force to exercise their electoral right in Sunday's by-election to prove democracy is still alive in this country.

In making the call, Information Minister Datuk Seri Zainuddin Maidin said though this was only a by-election, its outcome was significant as it would mirror the people's trust and confidence in the country's democratic process.

"They must come out in droves to cast their ballots. They should not listen to instigators. When the voters come out to vote tomorrow, they should not pay heed to Opposition claims that this by-election is undemocratic," he told reporters.

Zainuddin said he was optimistic Batu Talam voters would not be swayed by the Opposition's ploys to influence the electorate not to come out to vote.

The by-election is a straight fight between Barisan Nasional's (BN) Abdul Aziz Mat Kiram, 47, and an independent, Ng Chee Pang, 22.

Based on a study by agencies under the Information Ministry, he said, the voter turnout would be more than 65 per cent in tomorrow's polling.

"I hope the turnout will be higher than that...I believe the voters will show a higher commitment and determination to come out to vote to register their protest against the move by certain groups to boycott the polls," he said.

"The Opposition is not contesting to boycott the by-election. hoping that the people will also boycott the polls.

"That's their biggest expectation, (but) the voters must come out to vote to prove the Opposition is no longer relevant in Malaysia's democratic system," he said.

Elaborating on the Opposition's boycott move, Zainuddin said: "There is no more of such groups in Terengganu, there are still some in Kelantan, their defeat here (in Batu Talam) with a good voter turnout means it's only a matter of time they're no more in Kelantan, too. "Nevertheless, some are still fanatic, adamant to change and are backward- thinking, but many have turned against these groups," he said.

On his advice to Batu Talam voters, Zainuddin said: "Go out to vote regardless of rain, storm or floods. Election machinery workers will help bring voters to their respective polling stations. Transport is not a problem."

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