The EC’s attempt to amend the election systems through an unannounced 30-point proposal had aroused tremendous opposition chiefly on some ill-thought out ideas like Proxy voting and fax-voting. The EC has no answers to numerous queries on how to safeguard such voting -given the lack of impartiality and incompetence of the EC itself:
Big ‘no’ to proxy voting proposal
Tuesday, January 18th, 2011 13:59:00
PETALING JAYA: The proposal for a proxy voting system by the Election Commission (EC) has received a big “no” from watchdogs, civil society organisations and legal practitioners, The Malay Mail found in a survey.
They unanimously said the EC should strive to improve electoral problems, such as phantom voters and postal voting, than introduce proxy voting which could have adverse implications in the general election and by-elections.
Said Malaysians for Free and Fair Elections (Mafrel) chairman Syed Ibrahim al-Habshi: “While it’s good to note the EC is actually thinking and working on the electoral process, my main question with regards to proxy voting is simple: how is it going to be implemented and who is going to verify and validate the votes?”
He said proxy voting was not secure and he feared issues similar to postal voting would crop up as cases of multiple votes by a single voter could occur.
“I believe EC should play a more active role in safeguarding the current electoral process, iron out the kinks of old problems like phantom voters, rather than implement something which could add more problems to the voting system.”
Lawyer Azhar Harun voiced concern over the validity of proxy voting and the amount of time required for it.
“Take the Petra Perdana Bhd proxy voting incident last year as an example. It took more than 13 hours to handle about 300 votes during that company’s extraordinary general meeting.
“In a general election, there are millions of votes cast. Imagine the time needed to count and verify the proxy votes.” Azhar suggested the EC adopt technologically-advanced voting processes, such as touchscreens, in which eligible voters cast their votes after their thumbprints were verified on polling day, doing away with ballot papers.
“This is something the EC should look into, rather than cumbersome proxy voting which could also be prey to fraud.”
Selangor-based Monash Universitiy Malaysia political analyst Dr Wong Chin Huat said it would lead to more problematic issues.
“It would only encourage votebuying and intimidation of voters,” said Wong who is a member of the Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (Bersih).
“There is a need for a total reform of postal voting to ensure it is only for those unable to be physically present to cast their votes at the polling centres on polling day. Postal voting should also be made available to all those who qualify for this form of voting, rather than the current situation in which postal voting is mandatory only for some people.”
Suara Rakyat Malaysia (Suaram) chairman K. Arumugam said they were against proxy voting as it would encourage more cases of phantom voters.
“EC should instead clear all the long-standing issues with regards to our electoral process and tighten the monitoring process to ensure free and fair elections.”
Syed Ibrahim, Azhar, Wong and Arumugam said the EC should engage in more discussions with political parties of both divides and civil society organisations to improve the electoral process.