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Malaysia’s ruling coalition to hold election dry run this month

Exercise is to ensure the efficiency of polling system and party machinery

KLANG The ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition will conduct a nationwide dry run this month for the coming general election.

After weeks of closed-door meetings involving national leaders, the top BN leadership has ordered the dry run to ensure the readiness of the party's machinery for the elections which, a Melaka insider said, is set to be held around the third week of April.

Umno information chief Annuar Musa said it has tested the efficiency of the system over the last two weeks.

"We want to ensure that all systems are in order. We are testing logistics, polling agents and all related components.

"We need to identify weaknesses in the system and rectify them accordingly," he said during a presentation at Yayasan Kemiskinan Kelantan.

In Selangor, the dry run on March 17 will test out BN's strengths, as well as the viability of machinery and manpower.

"It will be a practice run of the operational procedures on polling day, as well as to test out the polling day machinery," said Selangor Umno deputy chief Mat Nadzari.

In Kota Kinabalu, a Sabah Barisan official said the dry run would involve all 25 parliamentary constituencies.

We need to identify weaknesses in the system and rectify them accordingly. Umno information chief Annuar Musa

"Everyone in each polling district is expected to run through their voters and report back to their heads in the respective constituency. All information will be fed back to the state leadership and then to the headquarters," he said.

In George Town, Penang BN chairman Teng Chang Yeow said the state would also conduct a dry run but did not disclose further details.

Meanwhile, a Penang Umno division chief said BN had asked the division leaders to pick a date from March 4 to practise the dry run before the actual simulation day on March 17.

The dry run, he said, was to test the voters' data system, the Jalinan Rakyat Plus, vehicles, district polling centre and the Parliament war room.

In Johor, Pulai MP Nur Jazlan Mohamed said they had conducted a dry run for his constituency a month ago.

"This is the most prepared BN has ever been," he added.

In Melaka, the state BN will hold its dry run on March 11. An insider from Barisan's election war room said the dry run would be held from 8am to 11am.

"We expect the voting day to be held by the third week of April and preparations are already being made to identify white, grey or black areas," the insider said.

Chief Minister Idris Haron said he expected the elections to be held "very soon".

Meanwhile, Melaka MCA chairman Lim Ban Hong said the party's machinery was ready to face the elections "any time".

- THE STAR/ANN

WORLD