Old Enough To Hang but NOT to Vote

By Masterwordsmith

Last Tuesday, an Egyptian court ruled that Egyptians living abroad should be allowed to vote at embassies in upcoming parliamentary and presidential elections, a judicial source said. A little closer to home, six brave Malaysian citizens overseas filed a lawsuit against the Election Commission (EC) asking the High Court to compel the EC to register them as absent voters. As they work in the UK, they had applied to be registered as absent voters to be eligible voters in the coming general election but were instead registered by the EC as ordinary voters, who must return to Malaysia to vote in person. And why?

Bernama reported that there are about one million Malaysian expatriates working overseas as of April this year, the Dewan Rakyat was told Monday. The figure was based on a joint study by the World Bank and the Economic Planning Unit of the Prime Minister’s Department.

Thus, it is timely that all Malaysians should pressure the government to allow those Malaysians residing abroad to vote in the country of their residence. Not many can afford the $$$ or time to come back to Malaysia to cast their vote.

According to MyOverseasVote:

Although the EC Chairman, Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Yusof, announced on 25 August 2011 that all Malaysians overseas would be allowed to vote by post, the EC has recently clarified to MyOverseasVote that the EC Chairman had never promised that the EC would do so before the next general election. Two months after the announcement was made, the EC has still taken no action to enable Malaysians overseas even to begin the process of registering as absent voters, which usually takes 3-6 months. Overseas Malaysians are increasingly worried that the 13th General Election will come and go while they continue to be deprived of their constitutional right to vote.

According to the Constitution of Malaysia:

Article 16a

16A. Subject to Article 18, any person of or over the age of eighteen years who is on Malaysia Day ordinarily resident in the State of Sabah or Sarawak is entitled, upon making application to the Federal Government before September 1971, to be registered as a citizen if he satisfies the Federal Government –

(a) that he has resided before Malaysia Day in the territories comprised in those States and after Malaysia Day in the Federation for periods which amount in the aggregate to not less than seven years in the ten years immediately preceding the date of the application, and which include the twelve months immediately preceding that date;

(b) that he intends to reside permanently in the Federation;

(c) that he is of good character; and

(d) except where the application is made before September 1965, and the applicant has attained the age of forty-five years at the date of the application, that he has a sufficient knowledge of the Malay language or the English language or, in the case of an applicant ordinarily resident in Sarawak, the Malay language, the English language or any native language in current use in Sarawak.

Article number: 119


(1) Every citizen whom

(a) has attained the age of twenty- one years on the qualifying date; and

(b) is resident in a constituency on such qualifying date or, if not so resident, is an absent voter, is entitled to vote in that constituency in any election to the House of Representatives or the Legislative Assembly unless he is disqualified under Clause (3) or under any law relating to offences committed in connection with elections; but no person shall in the same election vote in more than one constituency.

(2) If a person is in a constituency by reason only of being a patient in an establishment maintained wholly or mainly for the reception and treatment of persons suffering from mental illness or mental defectiveness or of being detained in custody he shall for the purpose of Clause (1) be deemed not to be resident in that constituency.

(3) A person is disqualified for being a elector in any election to the House of Representatives or the Legislative Assembly if: