25 APRIL 2018
The Election Commission is sabotaging its own overseas postal voting system, which was established after the 2012 Parliamentary Select Committee on Electoral Reform.
In 2013, Malaysian voters living overseas (except in Singapore, southern Thailand, Kalimantan and Brunei), were able for the first time to vote by post, following the recommendations of the 2012 Parliamentary Select Committee on Electoral Reform. In 2013, the delivery and return of Malaysian overseas postal votes was undertaken by Wisma Putra, with Malaysian overseas postal voters filling out their postal votes at Malaysian embassies and high commissions overseas.
For the 2018 general election, the Election Commission has announced that postal ballots for Malaysian voters living overseas will be sent by Pos Malaysia (PosLaju), and will need to be returned by voters themselves so that the postal ballots are received by the relevant constituency returning officer by 5pm on polling day, 9 May.
However, by setting a short campaign period of only 11 days, the Election Commission has effectively sabotaged its own overseas postal voting system. Postal ballot papers can only be printed after nomination day, when the candidates for each constituency are known. Between nomination day on Saturday, 28 April, and polling day on Wednesday, 9 May, there are only 6½ working days. 1 May is Labour Day, while 9 May has been gazetted as an additional public holiday for the general election. It is believed that the earliest day that overseas postal ballots can be sent out is on 2 May, after the Labour Day public holiday, leaving only 4½ working days for ballots to be sent out and returned by courier.
Pos Malaysia’s website shows that delivery times for their international Express Mail Service are 2–4 working days for Australia, 3–5 working days for the United Kingdom, 3–6 working days for the United States and Germany, 4–5 working days for New Zealand, 4–6 working days for France, 4–7 working days for Ireland, and 5–7 working days for the Netherlands and Italy. Many Malaysian overseas postal voters may therefore only receive their postal ballots after polling day on 9 May, certainly too late for them to be returned in time to be counted.
MyOverseasVote and Global Bersih calls upon the Election Commission chairman to explain on an urgent basis how overseas postal votes will dispatch in time for them to be returned by 5pm on 9 May. If Malaysian overseas postal voters are denied their right to vote due to the Election Commission’s sabotage, MyOverseasVote and Global Bersih will assist them to bring legal action against the Election Commission and the Malaysian Government.
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