February 22nd, 2013 by Teresa
Media statement by Teresa Kok, Member of Parliament for Seputeh and Senior Exco of the State of Selangor, at Kuala Lumpur on 21st February 2013.
I welcome the Election Commission’s decision to allow Malaysians abroad to vote in the upcoming general elections. It is always better late than never. However, Election Commission must clarify and ascertain that all the rules and regulations in relation to the Malaysian Abroad Postal Voting System, and to show its sincerity in conducting free and fair general elections.
It’s time for the Election Commission to name all the polling stations in overseas missions and ensure they are capable of handling the process in a transparent manner. In countries or cities that have large numbers of overseas Malaysian, the embassies or consulate offices in those areas might face manpower issues. Consulate-General office in Shanghai in the city with more than 10,000 Malaysians is an example.
As many overseas Malaysians will be registering as “absentee voters” (PTH, who are eligible to vote in overseas), the EC should display the list of absentee voters on website and update the list every week according to the progress of the registration. Public display via internet will help to ensure no large number of absentee voters could be added in the last minute.
Overseas Malaysians who registered as overseas postal voters were told that they can collect ballot papers from embassy and consulate-general office prior to voting day, and they can choose to pass the ballot papers back to the Malaysian foreign office to mail back to Malaysia or mail the ballot paper to their friends in Malaysia to pass to Elections Commission.
The ballot boxes are exposed to risks of being compromised or tampered with while in transit back to Putrajaya for the counting process if the counting process is not performed immediately after ballot closing time.
There is an absence of observers or polling and counting agents in the overseas postal voting exercise. Several electoral reform groups have already voiced their concerns of such postal ballots may be tampered with during and after voting process.
The EC must prove the Malaysian Abroad Postal Voting System is above suspicion to ensure transparency and practicability.
I urge the EC to cooperate with electoral reform groups to work out transparent and acceptable ways to conduct the voting process for Malaysians abroad.