Malaysians overseas shouldn’t be disenfranchised

I would like to express my disappointment over the statement of Dato’ Seri Nazri Abdul Aziz in Parliament on the 16th March 2011 that  Malaysians who reside overseas do not love their country and therefore do not deserve to vote in elections.

Malaysians overseas should not be disenfranchised of their constitutional rights to vote. Their rights to vote are enshrined in the Federal Constitution and it is the obligation of the Government and the Election Commission to make it possible for Malaysians overseas to exercise their legitimate democratic rights.  

Nazri’s statement, that “those who have been there for five or six years and don’t come back, they don’t love Malaysia,” is highly irresponsible and spoken out of reality. 

We know well that brain drain is a serious problem in Malaysia. In a recent parliamentary reply showed that 140,000 Malaysian had left the country in 2007. Between March 2008 and August 2009, the figure more than doubled to 305,000.

Many Malaysians are leaving the country not because they do not love the country, but because they could not see hope under the authoritarian rule of Barisan Nasional and its unjust policies.

I urge the Election Commission and Malaysian Government to speed up in the implementation of postal voting in all Malaysian embassies so that Malaysians oversea can exercise their duty and their right as a Malaysian citizen to vote for their choice of government.

Liew Chin Tong