|EC studying laws to allow overseas voting|
|Friday, 06 July 2012 08:47am|
©The Sun (Used by permission)
by Hemananthani Sivanandam
PUTRAJAYA (July 5, 2012): The Election Commission (EC) is studying the Federal Constitution and existing laws on the terms and conditions to enable all Malaysians abroad to vote.
EC chairman Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof said that during its discussion with the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) on electoral reforms, it had proposed that a person must have returned to Malaysia once over the past five years to qualify as a postal voter.
“In other countries, such as Singapore, they have stipulated that their citizens must at least return every three years. From our discussions, we think a five-year period is reasonable.
“So, we are now studying the constitution and the laws on the terms and conditions, whether we need to amend them, and other related issues,” Abdul Aziz told theSun today.
He also stressed EC is working to ensure that the 22 recommendations in the PSC report can be carried out, and rubbished claims that it is dragging its feet in putting a system in place to enable all Malaysians overseas to vote.
“It is not necessary that the EC must complete the work within the given deadline. You can’t just do that. It’s not like baking a cake.
“There are many discussions with people and areas that need to be covered and we are doing (our best),” said Abdul Aziz.
The PSC report, passed without debate by the Dewan Rakyat in April, had outlined a three-month deadline until July 3, for the EC to come up with arrangements for this purpose.
Abdul Aziz said for the past three months since the report, the EC has met various representatives from Wisma Putra, Immigration Department and the police several times over the matter.
“During the (discussion with) PSC, we recommended that postal voting was the best option but some members had a phobia when this was mentioned, alleging there were manipulations.
“But, when we discussed with Wisma Putra, they said the only best option is postal voting. Wisma Putra told us they can only help us out if postal voting is carried out,” he said.
Abdul Aziz explained that since last year, the EC has also appointed Wisma Putra officers as assistant registrars to help Malaysians overseas to register but the response has been poor.
“We have over 100 missions overseas but only 40 are actively sending us registration forms, mainly from the United Kingdom, Japan, Australia, New Zealand and the United States.
“From early this year till June, only about 400-500 people have registered, which is disappointing,” he said.
Abdul Aziz said the EC has also enabled Malaysians abroad to become registered voters using their international passport or other supporting documents such as student or worker identity card, instead of using only the MyKad previously.
He also said those living abroad can go to the EC’s website to download the voter’s registration form and sign up to become voters.
Currently, only armed force, police personnel, civil servants posted overseas and full-time students are considered as postal voters.
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