One more day to register as postal voters

By Koh Lay Chin

26 February, 2008
LONDON: Overseas students have until tomorrow to register as postal voters. Election Commission (EC) secretary Datuk Kamaruzaman Mohd Noor said those entitled to vote by post still had time to register, provided they were already on the 2007 master electoral roll gazetted on Feb 5.
He said electoral ballots would only be printed 72 hours after nomination as this was the “cooling-off period” where candidates may withdraw their candidacy.
This means the EC will only be printing ballots after tomorrow and the commission will continue to register postal voters till then.
“Priority is given to postal votes. Printing will take one day, and after that, the overseas postal votes will be submitted to the Foreign Ministry to be sent to registered postal voters.”
Kamaruzaman said only those voters who had checked their details on the EC website and were on the master electoral roll would be allowed to vote via post.
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 – military personnel, students, staff of embassies and high commissions and their spouses.
Malaysians living abroad and who fall outside these categories can only vote if they return home.
Kamaruzaman also said the respective high commissions abroad would be distributing postal ballots to registered postal voters. They could then choose to vote at the high commissions or privately.
After that, he said, the postal voters could courier the ballots back to the EC themselves, or have their respective high commissions send it on their behalf.
According to the EC, postal votes must reach the returning officer by 5pm on polling day.
Overseas students have been trawling the Internet and making calls to their high commissions over the last few months for more information about voting from abroad.
However, many complained about the lack of information from the EC and particularly about the confusing and contradictory statements that have been offered by their respective high commissions.