Postal voting still relevant, says EC

(Bernama) – KUALA LUMPUR: The Election Commission (EC) has defended the postal voting system which allows security forces personnel and their spouses as well as Malaysians working or studying abroad, to exercise their right as voters.

If this system was done away with, it would affect security and public order because members of security forces would have to abandon their bases to cast their votes on polling day, the EC said in a booklet explaining the various issues raised over the country’s election system.

The EC said it was constantly looking for the best way to strengthen the postal voting system, including implementing advance voting.

“Voters will be gathered in one place two or three days before the polling day.

“This system is not applicable, however, for Malaysians who are residing abroad and members of security forces who are on duties in their forward bases because of difficulties in gathering them,” it said.

On the registration of spouses of military or police personnel as postal voters, the EC said the matter was provided for under the Elections (Postal Voting) Regulations 2003.

The EC said applications to become postal electors were scrutinised in a stringent manner.

Meanwhile, the EC said it had no plan to implement automatic registration of voters for Malaysians who had reached the voting age of 21.

Doing so would inconvenience the electors as most of them do not live in the address stated in their identification documents, which were used to register them as electors, the EC said in the booklet.

It added that people often moved places without informing the National Registration Department about the change of address.

If they were registered automatically based on the address in their identification documents, and if they had moved to other places, it would be difficult for them to return to vote in their registered polling centres, it said.

– Bernama