Caution over proxy voting

By Foog Pek Yee and Yuen Meikeng, The Star

KUALA LUMPUR: Barisan Nasional leaders have cautioned the Elections Commission to consider carefully any intention to introduce proxy voting as the system is open to abuse.

“Voting is an inherent right of the rakyat, and the choice of the candidate is a secret.

“While the intention to increase voter turnout is good, the reason for proxy voting must be justified,” said MCA president Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek.

Dr Chua added that proxy voting was the EC’s idea and he was sure the top Barisan leadership would discuss it before any further move was made.

MCA Youth chief Datuk Dr Wee Ka Siong described the idea as a “rude shock,” saying it was against the principle of democracy.

“I do not find this (proxy voting idea) a joke. Anyone in the right frame of mind will say no to it. It has never been discussed,” said the Ayer Hitam MP.

Umno Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin said the proposal to implement proxy voting system was a bad idea because of the prospect of abuse.

He said he understood the move was to help those who were unable to be present on polling day, such as the disabled, to vote.

However, Khairy said the system could be manipulated to the advantage of irresponsible parties if the votes were changed by the proxies.

“The move will also not work to Barisan’s favour as we may be accused of rigging the system even though it has nothing to do with us,” he said, adding that the proxy voting system would also put the coalition into question.

“The present system is good enough,” Khairy said yesterday.

On Sunday, it was reported that the EC was studying the possibility of proxy voting to allow those unable to be present on polling day to have their votes cast by approved proxies.

Commission chairman Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof said the proposal was part of the commission’s efforts to provide opportunities for voters to exercise their right to vote.