Press Statement: 13 October 2011
BERSIH 2.0 and MyOverseasVote submit FAQ to EC and Wisma Putra
Inconsistencies in the voter registration process at Malaysian foreign missions need to be sorted out by the Election Commission (EC) and Foreign Ministry immediately. Following the worldwide BERSIH 2.0 rally held by the Malaysian diaspora, enthused Malaysians overseas who tried to register as voters at their local Malaysian mission faced a range of differing responses – some success and unexpected dead-ends.
The EC’s announcement that Assistant Registrars have been appointed at the Embassies has not solved the problems on the ground. A survey conducted in the USA on 20th September 2011 showed that each Consular office in Washington, New York and Los Angeles still had different interpretations of how voter registration should be carried out. All had this in common – no one at the office seemed to hold the title of Assistant Registrar. On 23rd September, the Embassy in London still deterred potential voters by telling them to contact the EC directly.
We would like to ask the EC to confirm that there are Assistant Registrars at all the Malaysian overseas missions and that they are satisfied with the competency of the appointed personnel to act on the EC’s behalf. If the roll-out is not complete, when is it due to end? The EC announced that they started the roll-out in April 2011, surely they have also set a completion date for the entire process.
We would like to ask the Foreign Ministry – what measures have been put in place to facilitate the success of voter registration at the Embassies? As a proxy for the EC, they are duty-bound to conduct election-related matters delegated to them by the Election authorities.
Between the EC and the Foreign Ministry, we would like to know who to send complaints to should overseas Malaysians not be able to register at their local consular office. Any positive feedback and ideas for improvements may also be provided via this channel.
The disconnect between announcements in Kuala Lumpur and the actual situation at the foreign missions has caused dismay to hopeful Malaysians abroad. To clarify the situation about Voter registration overseas, we have prepared a list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) that we would like the EC and Foreign Ministry to answer. We look forward to the authoritative responses from the EC being made available to Consular staff at the foreign offices so that consistent responses can be given to future enquiries.
A Voter Registration drive will take place in Melbourne, Sydney and Canberra in conjunction with BERSIH 2.0 Chairperson Dato Ambiga Sreenevasan’s visit at the end of October. We have asked the EC/Foreign Ministry to return the FAQ to us by the 17th October. While our campaigners are equipped to register voters, we would like to ensure that all the Consular offices around the world are also properly instructed.
We are hopeful that we will get a firm commitment from the EC and Wisma Putra to deal with the current problems faced by overseas Malaysians. On our part, we are more than willing to facilitate in whatever way deemed useful.
Note : Please see enclosed FAQ and cover letter to the EC/Foreign Ministry
See-See Leong, MyOverseasVote: email@example.com
Voter Registration in Australia
David Teoh, MyOverseasVote: firstname.lastname@example.org
BERSIH 2.0 partnership
Maria Chin Abdullah, BERSIH 2.0: email@example.com