EC: Postal vote only for certain groups

The Star: February 17, 2008
PUTRAJAYA: Malaysians living overseas cannot vote through the post unless they are military personnel, students, staff of embassies and high commissions and their spouses.
Election Commission (EC) secretary Datuk Kamaruzaman Mohd Noor advised them to return home if they wanted to vote on March 8.
“The law does not provide for ordinary citizens living abroad to cast postal votes.
“Under the Election Regulations (Electoral Roll) 2002 and Election Regulations (Postal Votes) 2003, only three categories of citizens living overseas are allowed to cast postal votes.
“Individuals who are keen to vote must come back to Malaysia as there is no other alternative for them to exercise their rights,” he said in response to an e-mail sent to The Star by a Malaysian living in Hong Kong who wants to vote in next month’s election.
Of the 10,922,139 registered voters on the 2007 master electoral roll gazetted on Feb 5, 221,085 are postal voters.
Kamaruzaman said voters who are not able to go to the polling stations due to work commitment, such as emergency service personnel and journalists, could apply to the EC through their organisations to vote by post.
“No individual application will be entertained because the law does not provide for this,” he said.
Kamaruzaman assured postal voters that they need not fear as the process was carried out in secret, adding that the serial number on the electoral roll would be different from that on the ballot paper.
“Even during the counting process, the candidates’ agents will closely scrutinise every ballot paper before giving their approval or objection.
“So, unless the agents are completely blind, I cannot entertain any allegations that there is no transparency in voting by post,” he said.
On the issue of voters aged 100 and above and still listed on the electoral roll, Kamaruzaman said as long as the National Registration Department’s records showed that a person has not died, the EC could not expunge the name from the roll.