The Election Commission has finally come around to the idea that Malaysians working overseas should be given back their vote-hopefully this can be implemented for the coming 13th General Elections speculated to be for November this year. The concern for East Malaysians are: would this include allowing Sarawakians and Sabahans to vote in West Malaysia as these East Malaysians are practically living `overseas’? In principle absentee voters should cover all voters who are abssent from their registered constituency-not just those who are out of the country. But if this is approved it is still a victory for the campaigner `Myoverseas Vote’ which started last year.
EC’s Proposal To Allow Malaysians Abroad To Vote Gets Positive Reaction
KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 2 (Bernama) — The Election Commission’s (EC) proposal to study the possibility of allowing Malaysians abroad to vote in the next general election has received positive reaction.
Several Malaysian students and workers overseas said that the proposal, if implemented, would enable them to discharge their duties, as a Malaysian citizen, to vote and choose the government as stipulated in the Federal Constitution.
However, they stressed that it should be implemented in a proper manner, subject to certain requirements, to ensure that it would not be manipulated by any party.
A student of University of Nottingham, United Kingdom, Anita Adnan, 39, said the EC’s proposal was implementable, but all efforts and processes should be carried out in an honest and transparent manner.
The final year doctoral student said the problem in handling scattered voting was that it would leave room for certain quarters to manipulate the ballot box and even the number of votes.
“It has to be carried out systematically and carefully controlled. Otherwise, let’s not bother,” she told Bernama when contacted through her social website.
Yesterday, EC chairman Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof said the proposal was still being studied and the EC was in the midst of getting its legal advisor’s views on whether the proposal would involve amending the Federal Constitution.
He said if implemented, Malaysian citizens and students abroad would be able to cast their vote at the Malaysian embassy.
However, he said problems would still arise because not all Malaysian citizens abroad had informed the relevant embassy of their whereabouts.
A Malaysian citizen working with an architecture company in Wellington, New Zealand, Mohd Syafieq Lee Abdullah, 47, said he agreed with the proposal but felt that the implementation of the process should be jointly monitored by the opposition parties.
“This must be adhered to like the rest of the election processes in Malaysia,” said the man who had stayed abroad over the past 20 years.
A post-graduate student at Victoria University of Wellington, Nor Balkish Zakaria, on the other hand, described the implementation of the proposal as the most awaited event for the Malaysian citizens abroad as they had probably missed several chances to cast their votes in the country’s general election.
“The voting mechanism should be transparent so that no rooms will be left for criticism,” said the former account lecturer who had been abroad for four years.
Meanwhile, Zulazli Mohd Aziz, 39, who works in Nottingham, United Kingdom, questioned the rationale behind the proposal to allow Malaysian citizens and students to vote from abroad and whether the implementation of the system really worth the effort.
“If after the government spent its money for the implementation, but the Malaysian citizens and students abroad didn’t even bother to vote, wouldn’t it be a total waste?
“Let’s make sure that we don’t spend too much money only to receive too little votes,” said the father of seven.