Nazri: Postal voting to stay

Syed Jaymal Zahiid | Aug 18, 08 (Malaysiakini)
Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Nazri Abdul Aziz today rejected a call from the opposition to abolish postal votes, arguing that this was the only way that Malaysians abroad could exercise their rights in elections.
However, he conceded the government would consider improving the system.
“But to abolish the system is not possible as it is the basic rights of Malaysian citizens abroad like soldiers and their spouses, police officers as well as other government servants and students,” Nazri said in parliament.
He was replying to a proposal made by Loh Gwo Burne (PKR- Kelana Jaya).
Postal voting has long been a hotly debated issue, with the opposition accusing the Barisan Nasional-led government of manipulating the system to its advantage.
Nothing wrong with the system
But Nazri said abolishing postal votes could also threaten national security as there would be no one left to protect the country if soldiers were given leave to return home to vote.
“And for those working abroad, their voting rights, rights enshrined in the Federal Constitution, would be denied if we actually abolish the postal voting system. So we are sticking to the system,” he reiterated.
He also rebutted Loh’s claim that the rising number of election petition filed against the Elections Commission reflected flaws in the system.
“Nothing’s wrong with the nation’s voting system”, Nazri said.
“I don’t think so. To me, the fact that petitioners are able to file their complaints reflects the fertility of our country’s democracy. But the law is supreme and only the law can decide whether or not the petitions filed are valid or otherwise,” he added.
Still, when asked by another legislator Bung Mokhtar Radin (BN – Kinabatangan), on how the government planned to improve the postal voting system, Nazri could only say, “That one I hope you can give recommendations on how to improve the postal voting system.”