Source : Malaysiakini
Aug 26, the polling day for the crucial Permatang Pauh by-election, has been declared a special public holiday in Penang by the state government.
Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng made the announcement today in a press statement saying that the special holiday was to ensure a full turnout of the 58,459 voters for the critical by-election.
“The Penang state government has been mulling over the decision ever since the Elections Commission fixed a working day on Tuesday August 26 as polling day in defiance of public opinion that this will reduce the voter turnout,” he said.
The announcement came a day after the Education Ministry declared a special school holiday in Permatang Pauh to allow schools to be used as polling stations.
“By fixing polling day on a working day and giving such preferential treatment of a special school holiday, the Education Ministry is trying to gain an advantage for a certain party and their candidate,” said Lim.
“To ensure a level-playing field and fairness to all candidates, the Penang state government has decided to declare August 26, 2008 as a state public holiday,”
According to Lim, the special holiday is taken as an additional holiday in the state and need not be replaced by taking away another holiday.
The chief minister urged all voters to turn out to cast their votes on Tuesday.
“The state government requests all factories to assist their workers in Permatang Pauh to carry out their duties to determine not only their choice of wakil rakyat but also decide the destiny of the country.”