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Thread: SPR: Overseas voters must be taxpayers before given the postal vote.

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2008

    SPR: Overseas voters must be taxpayers before given the postal vote.

    • No wonder they say the EC is made up of morons. It takes great stupidity to come out with such a statement. We can thank the Mamak for this

    Unconstitutional to bar non-taxpayers from voting, says Bersih

    By Yow Hong Chieh
    February 02, 2012
    KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 2 — Bersih has slammed as unconstitutional the Election Commission’s (EC) suggestion to bar overseas Malaysians who do not pay taxes from voting, pointing out that many Malaysians here too are not taxpayers.

    The electoral reform group noted that those who earn less than RM2,500 a month and many retirees are exempt from paying income tax, and asked if these groups will also be barred from voting in parliamentary and state elections.

    EC chairman Tan Sri Aziz Yusof said on Monday that the EC will propose to the parliamentary select committee on electoral reform that overseas Malaysians who do not pay taxes be rendered ineligible as voters.

    But only about one million Malaysians out of a total population of 28 million currently pay income tax, according to Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Idris Jala.
    Bersih today also pointed out that Aziz did not understand income tax laws, noting that the Income Tax Act 1967 states that income derived from sources outside Malaysia and received in Malaysia are exempt from income tax.

    “Through the double taxation agreement, the citizen would only pay the taxes in the country where they gain their income,” the group noted in a statement today.

    The EC’s proposal was also unconstitutional as it ignores every citizen’s right to vote, even as absent voters, and amounted to an attempt to disenfranchise qualified Malaysians, Bersih also stressed.

    It said the EC has only taken on “2˝ demands” of the group’s original eight demands, and questioned the commission’s lack of will to implement the recommendations for free and fair elections.

    “As the constitutional institution that is supposed to manage electoral processes and uphold the rights of voters, the EC appears to be unwilling to fulfil its constitutional duties. Bersih 2.0 reminds the EC that it is not answerable to any political master but to all citizens of Malaysia.

    “If the EC intends to gain the confidence of the people of Malaysia, it must stop hoodwinking the citizens and immediately start taking steps to bring about substantive reform to the electoral system to ensure free and fair elections in Malaysia,” it said.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    He really put his foot in his mouth this time!

    EC chief says never proposed overseas voting for taxpayers only

    By Yow Hong Chieh
    February 06, 2012
    Aziz said the pre-conditions for overseas postal voters will be announced later. — File pic

    KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 6 — Election Commission (EC) chairman Tan Sri Aziz Yusof has clarified that he never meant that only Malaysians abroad who pay taxes in the country be allowed to become postal voters.

    He explained that he had only suggested that Malaysians residing overseas might have to fulfil certain conditions before becoming postal voters, as practised by other countries, Bernama has reported.

    He pointed out that this was because not all overseas Malaysians were eligible for postal voting.

    Currently, only civil servants, full-time students and their spouses living abroad are allowed to vote via post. The EC has said it will amend election laws to open up overseas voting to more Malaysians.

    Aziz cited as examples countries which only allowed citizens to become postal voters if they had been abroad for no longer than four or five years and had made a trip home during that period.

    “I also gave an example of the practice in the United States where postal voters should be taxpayers. But never did I mention that I will propose that only taxpayers be allowed to become postal voters abroad,” the state news agency quoted him as saying.

    Aziz said the pre-conditions for overseas postal voters will be announced later.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2008

    Sack EC chief, overseas Malaysians urge Agong

    A group of overseas Malaysians want the Agong to sack the Election Commission (EC) chairperson Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof over a proposal, which they say would deny them the right to vote.

    Bersihkan Malaysia (Perth) (BMP) spokesperson Jordan Sugunasingam pointed out that under Article 114(2) of the Federal Constitution, the Agong needs to appoint a commission that “enjoys public confidence”.

    “Concerned Malaysians in BMP do not have any confidence whatsoever in Abdul Aziz (left) as the chairperson.

    “BMP invites all concerned Malaysians to join BMP in expressing their lack of confidence in Abdul Aziz as chairperson of the EC so as to send a clear message to the Agong that he does not enjoy public confidence, and to call on his majesty to relinquish him from his appointment,” said Sugunasingam in a statement today.

    The EC chief had been under fire over a suggestion last week that only tax-paying overseas Malaysians should be allowed to be postal voters.

    He clarified yesterday that he never made the suggestion, but maintained that certain conditions need to be fulfilled before the expats can register as absentee voters.

    In response, the self-described “group of concerned Malaysian residents in Perth, Australia” said it is not the EC’s authority to decide who is given the right to vote.

    “The constitution prescribes who has that right and the EC’s function is to ensure that right is safeguarded, not destroyed,” Sugunasingam said.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    The Chairman of the EC Should Stop Misleading the Malaysian Public About the US Overseas Voting System and Taxation


    Tuesday, 07 February 2012 Super Admin


    The Election Commission (EC) Chairman, Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof, has recently been roundly criticised by Bersih 2.0 and other civil society groups over his proposal to limit postal voting to overseas Malaysians who pay taxes in Malaysia.
    The EC Chairman was reported as saying that the EC would discuss with the Parliamentary Select Committee on Electoral Reform the number of years a Malaysian could not pay tax before being barred from voting by post (“Move to exclude”, The Sun Daily, 31 January)

    To justify his proposal, the EC Chairman cited the American electoral system, saying that only US taxpayers were allowed to vote. On the back of this statement, the MCA leader, endorsed the proposal to bar overseas Malaysians who do not pay tax from voting in parliamentary or state elections as absent voters.

    In responding to the criticisms from Bersih 2.0, MyOverseasVote and even Gerakan, the EC Chairman now claims that he never suggested that only tax-paying Malaysians overseas should be allowed to be postal voters, saying:
    I also gave an example of the practice in the United States where postal voters should be taxpayers; but never did I mention that I will propose that only taxpayers are allowed to become postal voters abroad. (Bernama, 5 February)
    We find it astonishing that it has taken nearly a week for the EC Chairman to explain himself and to claim that he was misquoted by the media. Whether or not this is true, MyOverseasVote cannot overlook the EC Chairman and the MCA’s ignorant and misleading assertions about the American system of overseas voting.

    Fact number 1: The United States of America does not operate a “No Tax, No Vote” system. While the USA taxes the overseas income of her citizens, taxation and the right to vote are two completely separate issues. Under the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act, an American citizen abroad can vote via an absentee ballot in any federal election so long as he/she is a U.S. citizen 18 years or older and is a U.S. citizen residing outside the United States. In 2009, Congress strengthened the rights of these voters by enacting the Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment (MOVE) Act. The U.S. Embassy in London has confirmed to MyOverseasVote that the only prerequisites for a U.S. absentee ballot are American citizenship and voting age.

    Fact number 2: According to the Constitution of the United States of America, it is illegal to link the payment of taxes to the right to vote. The Twenty-fourth Amendment (ratified in 1964) provides that:
    The right of citizens of the United States to vote in any primary or other election for President or Vice President, for electors for President or Vice President, or for Senator or Representative in Congress, shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any State by reason of failure to pay any poll tax or other tax.
    In an interview with MyOverseasVote, Roland Crim, Director of Americans Citizens Abroad (ACA), which specialises in US Expat Tax issues said :
    Since the 1964 ratification by the States of the 24th Amendment, Americans cannot be denied the right to vote on the grounds that they do not pay taxes. American citizens who have lived in the United States register to vote and cast their ballots through the voting Registrar in their last place of residence. A distinguishing feature of American citizenship is that it imposes a requirement to file a tax return declaring to the U.S. government all personal income, both earned or unearned, even for Americans living abroad. In many cases, however, an overseas resident tax filer will not pay anything, because after deductions, and after credit for taxes paid in his country of residence, there is no tax due. A filer for whom no tax is due can nevertheless cast a vote with no problem.
    MyOverseasVote strongly condemns the MCA for its support of this proposal to deprive Malaysians who do not pay tax of their voting rights, and congratulates Gerakan for their rejection of this ludicrous proposal. We remind the EC that their duty is to run the election process in a fair and impartial way, and not to try to extinguish the right of all Malaysians to vote, as enshrined in the Federal Constitution.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Comments in blue below.

    Overseas voters: Details still murky

    Tarani Palani
    | February 11, 2012

    It is one of the recommendations by the PSC but with about two months to go until the committee's deadline, the issue looks far from being resolved.

    PETALING JAYA: Details are still murky regarding the voting rights for all Malaysians living abroad as the Election Commission (EC) has yet to make any concrete decision on the matter.

    On Thursday, after a three-hour long meeting with the EC, Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) on electoral reforms chairman Maximus Ongkili announced a slew of reforms to be implemented by the EC as early as midle of this month.

    However, he said that the issue of expanding voting rights to all Malaysians abroad had yet to be discussed.

    Currently, only government employees, army personnel and full-time students could vote overseas.

    EC chairman Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof found himself in hot soup last week when he was reported to have said that the commission was considering allowing only tax-payers living abroad to vote.

    He clarified later that he was merely making a point where conditions needed to be set for all Malaysians abroad to vote.

    Ongkili added on Thursday that the EC had yet to provide the list of these conditions.

    The PSC in its interim report, tabled in Parliament on Nov 30, had suggested that qualified Malaysian citizens abroad should be allowed to vote in elections.

    ‘Stop giving excuses’

    FMT learnt that discussions on the matter even within the PSC had yet to reach any conclusions or developments.

    “The PSC’s stand has been very clear, we have wanted to make it as easy as possible for Malaysians overseas to be able to vote. But there has yet to be any concrete mechanism suggested by the EC,” said DAP member of the PSC, Anthony Loke.

    The Rasah MP added that the matter was discussed previously and the EC had conveyed that it would need to study the matter and kept it in view.
    He added that there had been no specific discussion on the matter since.

    The EC, he said, had to come up with a clear mechanism to address this issue rather than giving excuses.

    PAS’ Hatta Ramli, who is also a member of the PSC, said that in his opinion the EC might expand the voting rights soon.

    “The EC’s stand is that there needs to be some conditions set but of course that has yet to be finalised. In my opinion, I think they finally may accept the idea of expanding voting rights abroad but with conditions,” said the Kuala Krai MP.

    (Why should there be conditions? What business is it of the EC how often Malaysians come back?)

    Logistical problems

    When contacted, the EC continued to cite logistical difficulties in coordinating overseas voters.

    (If the EC is not competent enough to organize this, maybe they should step aside and let civil society do it.)

    EC deputy chairman Wan Ahmad Wan Omar told FMT that these voters could just return home once in every five years to cast their ballots.

    “Under the current law, these voters can’t vote under absentee category. I don’t see the difficulty in coming back to vote. They should come back and see how their MPs are performing in their constituencies,” he said.

    (These are just excuses to prevent overseas Malaysians from voting. If there are 1 million Malaysians overseas, can the airlines handle it? Imagine the cost involved.)

    He also stressed that it was important to differentiate the various potential voters overseas.

    “Not all of them have registered their whereabouts with the Malaysian embassies abroad, so if we are talking about overseas voting, when they are not registered, how can Wisma Putra coordinate?” he asked.

    (Those who don't register with the Embassy, can always register with the EC. It is not a condition that the voter register with the Embassies. After all, it is not the Embassies' job to register overseas voters.)

    EC secretary-general Kamaruddin Mohamed Baria said that Malaysian foreign missions had allocated additional staff to facilitate the registration of Malaysians abroad.

    “Since last December, the EC has spoken to Wisma Putra on this matter. The problem is many have said that there are potentially millions of voters abroad but the fact is that the number of those registered with the embassies is still smaller than that,” he said.

    “For now we are still discussing the logistics. For example, if these voters are to be classified as postal voters then do they post their ballots or do they vote at the embassies, those kind of details need to be ironed-out.

    (It has been discussed and agreed in principle - overseas voters

    “Then of course there is the issue of criteria which qualify them as overseas voters. Do they have to come back to Malaysia frequently, if so how frequently and how long do they have to stay,” he added.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Why the dilly-dallying on overseas voters?

    Tarani Palani
    February 27, 2012
    The PSC and the EC have been taken to task for continuing to be indecisive on the right of eligible Malaysians abroad to vote

    PETALING JAYA: The Election Commission (EC) and the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) on electoral reforms were slammed for dilly-dallying on the issue of overseas voting.

    Several groups supporting the rights of Malaysians abroad to vote said that the issue of voting rights to Malaysians overseas was a long-pending issue which the EC should resolve soon.

    They were reacting to PSC chairman Maximus Ongkili’s comments last Friday that overseas voters may not be able to vote in the coming general election.
    Said Ongkili: “It depends on when election is to be called but the EC says it will work within the next two months to come up with the requirements on overseas voting.”

    This, despite the fact that the PSC, in its interim report tabled in Parliament on Nov 30, had suggested that eligible Malaysian citizens abroad should be allowed to vote in elections.

    “The EC had months to come up with requirements for overseas voters. I don’t see why there is still a delay,” said said Andrew Yong of MyOverseas Votes.

    “The EC announced last August that Malaysians abroad will be allowed to vote as long as they register. It has been six months since but nothing has been done.
    “It is one of the suggestions in the PSC’s interim report. We brought the matter forward to the PSC in December but it is allowing the EC to drag on.

    “It is as though EC doesn’t want it to be implemented for the coming election,” he said.

    EC chairman Abdul Aziz Yusof announced on Aug 25 that overseas Malaysians would be allowed to vote by post.

    However, when clarification was sought, Abdul Aziz sang a different tune, saying that the EC had never promised to implement the changes in time for the upcoming polls.

    Ample time

    Currently, only government staff, army personnel and full-time students overseas can vote. According to the third quarter roll of 2011, 1,742 voters of this category are registered.

    Maria Chin Abdullah of Bersih 2.0 also echoed similar sentiments saying that the EC has had ample time to prepare for overseas Malaysians to vote.

    “The issue has been discussed for a long time, even before the July 9 Bersih 2.0 rally. I don’t understand why the EC is reluctant to come up with criteria for Malaysian overseas voters,” she said.

    “If the EC was sincere in implementing changes, it would have started the process a long time ago, instead of still flip-flopping over the issue as the election is approaching.

    “I’m just wondering what is the basis for the EC to still say it needs more time. This is not a new issue,” she added.

    It is estimated that there are 700,000 to one million Malaysian citizens who live and work overseas. However it is unclear how many of them are registered voters.

    Eligible voters living and working abroad cannot vote through postal or absentee voters. They have to return to Malaysia to vote, which many abroad find troublesome.

    The EC, however, said that it cannot comment on the matter as it will have to review Ongkili’s statement.

    The PSC is currently abroad on a one-week fact-finding mission to Britain, Germany and Denmark. It is expected to table a final report on electoral reforms in April.


  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Do we judge the EC on the quality of their excuses or on their performance?

    Clearly, they are incompetent and should go.

    Friday, 16 March 2012 07:56

    Mixed reaction on postal voting for those abroad

    PETALING JAYA - The announcement by the Election Commission (EC) that postal voting is the only way for Malaysians overseas to vote has been met with much scepticism, with some quarters saying that it is merely an excuse for reforms not to be fulfilled. Others however concede that this still a step forward towards allowing Malaysians abroad to exercise their rights.

    Bersih 2.0 steering committee member Dr Wong Chin Huat told theSun that he is not rejecting the idea of postal voting for overseas Malaysians, but it is more practical to allow them to cast their ballots at the nearest embassy or consulate.

    "While the idea of postal voting for those overseas cannot be discounted entirely, the EC should look into utilising or training personnel at Malaysian embassies to facilitate the voting process," said Wong.

    On Wednesday, Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) for Electoral Reform chairman Datuk Seri Maximus Ongkilli said the EC would only be able to facilitate all eligible Malaysians overseas to vote if ballots are cast by post.

    EC said it may not be practical to implement overseas voting in the near future due to the lack of registered overseas voters at present.

    In addition to this time is needed to set up the infra-structure to make voting overseas possible.

    Currently, only armed force and police personnel, and civil servants posted overseas, as well as full-time students are considered as absent voters (postal voters).

    Political analyst Khoo Kay Peng said the 'condition' set by EC is merely an excuse (to not do away with postal voting).

    "If other countries like Singapore can conduct their overseas voting through their embassies, why can't the EC also do the same?

    "If EC truly intends to fulfill calls for postal voting to be scrapped, it has the power to do so. Especially since there has been so much criticism against the lack of transparency involving the process of postal votes," he added.

    However, Bar Council Constitutional Law Committee chairman Syahredzan Johan said the most important issue here is to first, ensure all Malaysians overseas can exercise their democratic rights.

    "One cannot go on a nationwide voter registration exercise but at the same time exclude a large number of existing voters who work overseas, or cannot spare the expense or time to return to Malaysia to vote," he told theSun.

    "At this point in time, I can accept the idea of postal votes, but only so that a Malaysian working overseas can vote. It's a start," he added.

    In the same vein, Bar Council president Lim Chee Wee said the EC must extend the category of absent voters to include all eligible Malaysian voters.

    "If the EC says that overseas vote is only possible through post, without amending regulations that allows only civil servants, students, armed forces and police to do so, then it is wrong," he said, adding that this must be done before the next general elections.


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