Overseas voting process has several defects, says DAP

Syed Jaymal Zahiid, The Malaysian Insider

DAP leaders today said there are defects in the overseas voting process and this could see Malaysians abroad denied the right to fair elections and possible vote manipulation.

Four key issues were listed, among them being the Election Commission’s (EC) delay in allowing those living overseas to vote, a problem that left many Malaysians abroad with little time to register as voters.

“It took them so long to implement it and many Malaysians who are trying to vote now can’t do so because they are not registered,” DAP Socialist Youth chief Anthony Loke (picture) told reporters here, saying that the EC had also done nothing to encourage those abroad to register while the overseas voting process was being deliberated.

Loke noted that a parliamentary select committee on polls reform in its preliminary findings had asked the EC to allow overseas voting more than a year ago. The polls regulator, however, only announced the decision to carry it out early this month.

With Election 2013 expected to be held in March, those who register now cannot exercise their right to vote in this election.

Then there is the new rule that requires overseas voters to be in Malaysia for a minimum of 30 days anywhere between April 2008 to the time Parliament is dissolved.

The problem was raised last July by the My Overseas Vote (MOV) movement which said Malaysians abroad would not be able to vote if the EC does not amend the rules on voter registration and postal voting.

“As long as EC does not amend the regulations, it is impossible for 95 per cent of Malaysians abroad to register as voters,” MOV co-ordinator Andrew Yong had told The Malaysian Insider, saying that “there are now one million Malaysians working overseas with the majority being private sector employees.”

“What this does is it filters out a lot of applicants. It’s just not possible. Those abroad often only come back for a few weeks at the most. Why are they adding new restrictions; that could be a hassle,” Loke charged.