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Thread: SPR: EC rues 'poor' response from Malaysians abroad

   
   
       
  1. #1
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    SPR: EC rues 'poor' response from Malaysians abroad


    It is very tiresome to read statements like these which are patently misleading and not reflective of the reality.

    Simplify the registration procedures. Allow online registration.


    EC rues 'poor' response from Malaysians abroad



    • S Pathmawathy


    • 11:11AM Jun 14, 2012


    http://malaysiakini.com/news/200831

    Despite loud calls to enlist over a million Malaysians residing overseas as voters, the reception has been “poor”, said Election Commission (EC) chairperson Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof.

    “We have been calling for all those living abroad to register at the respective embassies and high commissions and to provide us with their place of polling and their correspondence addresses.

    “But the response is poor, not that good. We announced it nearly four months ago and we only have a few hundred registered, around 400 to 500,” Abdul Aziz (left) told Malaysiakini.

    As of now the Elections (Registration of Electors) Regulations 2002 only allows government servants, military personnel and full-time students overseas to register as absent voters.

    “Even within this group (those who qualify under the legislation) their response in participating as postal voters is not good,” complained Abdul Aziz.

    Granting voting rights to Malaysians overseas topped the list of the 22 pivotal recommendations in the parliamentary select committee (PSC) on electoral reform’s report tabled in April.

    The EC had previously refused to expand the category of absentee voters to all overseas Malaysians as well as allow them to vote early at missions abroad due to logistics and practicality considerations.

    Instead, the commission suggested that postal voting facilities be provided them, subject to certain conditions - that the overseas citizens are registered as voters and have to return home at least once every five years to qualify.

    As no progress had been reported earlier, Rasah DAP MP Anthony Loke yesterday lashed out at the EC for keeping mum on several short-term recommendations that were given a three-month deadline, including the recognition of overseas voters.

    In midst of sorting out legal constraints

    Nevertheless, Abdul Aziz told Malaysiakini that the EC has “almost completed” the process of including eligible Malaysians overseas as voters, but will be able to submit a progress report to only Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Mohd Nazri Abdul Aziz, who is in charge of parliamentary affairs.

    He said that the commission is in the midst of discussions with the Attorney-General’s Chambers on the legislation that needs to be amended to ensure that overseas voters return to the country at least once every five years.

    “We've been having rounds of meetings with the Foreign Ministry and all the missions overseas since the recommendation were made by the PSC last year.

    “We have appointed assistant registrars in the missions to assist with voter registration,” he said.

    Asked on the recommendation allowing outstation voters, especially from Sabah and Sarawak, to vote without having to return to their constituencies as proposed by the bipartisan committee in its interim report released in November last year, Abdul Aziz stressed that it is not possible.

    “We studied the law and there is no room for exceptions. Say we give leeway for those from Sabah and Sarawak, what about those from Kuala Lumpur who are in Johor or Perlis or even in Sabah?” he challenged.

    In making a reference to Article 119 of the federal constitution, which stipulates that an eligible voter must be a resident in his or her voting constituency, Abdul Aziz said that “special” privileges cannot be accorded to just a select group of the electorate.

    “The rule is, if you are working in Kuala Lumpur for more than three months, by right you should change your address with the National Registration Department and inform the EC to make the changes in the electoral roll,” he said.
    py

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    The EC should think of solutions, not complain about the situation. They are paid to solve problems.

    The solution is automatic voter registration and offer of postal voting to overseas Malaysians. The applicant must be able to use his passport to register since it is a well-controlled document by the Immigration Dept and a procedure provided where the applicant can have his details validated by a recognized authority such as a Commissioner of Oath or embassy staff. Other countries must have faced similar problems and have overcome it. Surely we can learn from them.

    One possible solution is for the EC to issue voter registration card, separate from MyKad.

    Then they will feel it is worth their effort to be in the electoral roll.


    Low response to foreign voter drive, says EC

    By Amin Iskandar
    July 06, 2012

    Aziz said no more than five people registered with the embassies each day. —
    File pic


    SHAH ALAM, July 6 — Response to its voter registration drive outside of the country has been disappointing, the Election Commission (EC) has said despite earlier clamour for the facility.“It has been six months since we opened-up registrations for voters abroad at embassies and consulates, but until now only 300 to 400 voters have registered,” Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Yusoff, the head of the commission, told The Malaysian Insider recently.

    “Only a maximum of five voters came to register in a day.”

    According to Aziz, the response so far fell short of the earlier clamour.

    “Prior to the EC opening up registrations, there was ruckus all over that Malaysian voters abroad were being denied of their right to vote,” said Abdul Aziz.

    To facilitate registrations abroad, the EC has placed appointed officers at Malaysian embassies and consulates as assistant registrars.

    Forms for voter registration are also available online and may be filled up before being sent to Malaysian embassies and consulates abroad.

    In discussions with the Parliamentary Select Committee for Electoral Reform (PSC), the commission had suggested that Malaysians abroad who intended to vote make the trip home once in five years to do so,

    “If they have not returned to Malaysia, this means they have no knowledge of the political scene in the country.

    “Even countries such as the United Kingdom have rules for their voters abroad and not everyone can vote as they wish,” Aziz told The Malaysian Insider.

    The voting process abroad will also not replicate the system used in the country as Wisma Putra was not willing to make it so.

    “In certain places abroad, there are only one or two Malaysians and it is a waste of time to do the normal procedure.

    “Thus, the EC proposed for the voting for Malaysians abroad to be done via postal voting,” said Aziz.
    py

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    Friday, 06 July 2012 13:03

    EC studying laws to allow overseas voting


    Written by -

    http://www.malaysia-chronicle.com/in...oting&Itemid=2

    PUTRAJAYA - 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.

    -thesundaily
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    Only 20,000 M'sians abroad registered as voters

    Posted on 10 July 2012 - 09:44am

    http://www.thesundaily.my/news/430167

    KUALA LUMPUR (July 9, 2012): The Election Commission (EC) said that only 20,000 Malaysians abroad have registered as voters for the 13th General Election and not half a million as claimed by certain parties.

    EC deputy chairman Datuk Wan Ahmad Wan Omar categorically denied the claim that more than 500,000 Malaysians overseas did not have the opportunity to register.

    He said the claim was baseless as the registration turn out at Malaysian representative offices worldwide did not match the alleged figure.

    "Although we hear people say more than half a million Malaysians abroad are queuing to vote, but the numbers who actually registered were much lower," he said on the 'Hello Malaysia' programme titled "EC: The 13th General Election Challenge" on BernamaTV here tonight.

    Wan Ahmad said Wisma Putra records showed the overall number who registered at embassies abroad at about 20,000.

    He said the situation clearly proved that 'those' who claimed to have registered were not interested in voting and can be described as an 'assumption' by certain interested parties.

    He also stressed that those who left the country for job opportunities were actually normal voters compared to diplomats and government officials who were duty bound and full-time students abroad.

    As Parliament had decided to allow them voting rights, he said the EC had discussed the matter with Wisma Putra and the Immigration Department to ensure only those who had returned home at least once in five years be eligible to vote.

    Wan Ahmad said upon registration, they must request for postal voting in order to vote in the general election. – Bernama
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    SPR: Postal vote for Malaysians abroad by GE13

    Postal vote for Malaysians abroad by GE13

    NEWS/COMMENTARIES

    http://malaysia-today.net/mtcolumns/...abroad-by-ge13

    Wednesday, 11 July 2012 Super Admin



    Malaysians voters abroad will be allowed to vote via postal ballots if they have returned home at least once in the five years preceding the dissolution of Parliament. — File pic

    How does coming back once in 5 years make a Malaysian knowledgeable about the political situation?
    (The Malaysian Insider) — All Malaysians living abroad will be allowed to vote via post in the next general election after amendments to present laws are tabled in Parliament this September, the Election Commission (EC) confirmed today.

    News portal Malaysiakini reported EC chairman Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof as saying that the only condition for overseas voting was that the voter must return to Malaysia once every five years before the House is dissolved.

    “This is to make sure that they know our political situation well before voting,” the portal quoted him as saying after a media briefing this morning.

    Abdul Aziz added that, if required, legislative amendments will be tabled in Parliament this September to allow overseas voting via postal balloting.

    “The system can be implemented by September if we have to amend the law, but it could be earlier than that (if legal amendments are not needed),” he was quoted as saying.

    The Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) on electoral reforms had on April 3 given the EC a three-month deadline to formulate a mechanism to enable overseas voting for all Malaysians abroad.

    “The committee recommends that the EC discusses with the authorities involved within three months from the date this report is passed by the House to enable the above requirements be enforced through the formulation of a legal framework,” the PSC had said in its final report to Parliament.

    The panel had added that the proposal for overseas voting would involve several amendments to present laws, including Section 16 of the Elections Act 1958, Election Offences Act 1954, Elections (Conduct of Elections) Regulations 1981, Elections (Registration of Electors) Regulations 2002, and Elections (Postal Voting) Regulations 2003.

    The committee had also recommended that the EC formulate a method to allow ballot papers to be delivered directly to voters abroad and for the papers to be sent back to the commission through Malaysian embassies.

    The suggestion for overseas voting was included in the PSC’s first 10 recommendations in its interim report tabled last December.

    But following the panel’s suggestion, the EC responded by saying the current voting system in Malaysia could not be replicated for voters abroad due to logistic issues.

    “This view was supported by feedback from the Foreign Ministry.

    “The committee (PSC) took into consideration the EC’s suggestion to look into the possibility of allowing Malaysians abroad to vote via post, but following certain requirements,” PSC’s report said.

    These requirements include that the individual is a legally registered voter from Malaysia and that the individual has returned to Malaysia at least once in the five years preceding his or her application to vote as a postal voter.

    At present only civil servants, full-time students and their spouses living abroad are allowed to vote.
    According to EC deputy chairman Datuk Wan Ahmad Wan Omar yesterday, records from Wisma Putra show that the overall number who have registered at embassies abroad currently number at about 20,000
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    EC claims hide true voter story



    • William de Cruz


    • 10:47AM Jul 27, 2012


    COMMENT Claims by the Election Commission’s (EC) chairperson that Malaysians overseas are not interested in the postal vote hide the story of how nearly 1 million citizens abroad are discriminated against and denied voting rights by his own hand.


    Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof (left in photo) and his deputy, Wan Ahmad Wan Omar, make the assertions because only about 20,000 (or two percent of an estimated 1 million working overseas) have registered with their embassies and consulates as voters; this number excludes Malaysians abroad who are registered at home as ordinary voters.


    But neither should be surprised, really - the Election Commission's own black hole of eligibility has disenfranchised the rest.


    EC executive concerns cloud two facts. First, most of the uninterested Malaysians they refer to actually belong to government-linked citizenship categories. Second, both gentlemen have yet to initiate moves to give postal-voting rights to all other overseas Malaysians, despite growing demands to do exactly that, including from a parliamentary select committee.


    As they stand, EC-administered laws only allow four categories of citizens living abroad to cast their votes as ‘absent voters’ - military personnel, public servants and full-time students, as well as their spouses, who may lodge their votes with their respective high commissions or consulates.


    All other overseas citizens are excluded from the postal vote - to participate in an election, they must return to Malaysia.


    These Malaysians have been far from silent, and MyOverseasVote (MOV) is only one high-profile non-government organisation that has for years been pushing an obstinate EC to do the right thing. In KL, electoral reform group Bersih and its support network, Global Bersih, have long clamoured for an inclusive postal voting system.


    Naturally, when the EC claimed that its programme to register postal voters had seen “very poor” response, Malaysians overseas were bewildered and confused, if not shocked and indignant at having been so misrepresented over their inability to vote.


    As far as voter-registration is concerned, the EC has promoted by preference, only reaching legislatively stipulated citizens and ignoring the vast majority of potential voters.


    David Teoh, a co-ordinator for electoral reform support group Global Bersih, said: “Other ‘ordinary’ Malaysians still cannot vote from overseas under the EC’s own law, so who is Abdul Aziz talking about when he says Malaysians are not interested?”


    Speaking in Melbourne, Teoh said: “While all students are able to register as postal voters, the consulate here has so far primarily promoted the registration to government-linked scholars.


    ‘Contradicting himself’


    “People at home need to know overseas citizens want to vote from abroad, but the EC says we are not allowed to.”


    Teoh added: “A reasonably competent Election Commission chairperson would at the very least uphold a standard of care to avoid habitually making statements contradicting himself.”


    Andrew Yong, the co-ordinator of MyOverseasVote, said, “Until the EC amends the regulations, the only people who can register as postal voters are a handful of embassy staff and about 20,000 postgraduate students.


    “Malaysians have been waiting since last August for the EC to amend the regulations. Nobody has time to go down to the embassy to register our addresses if we can’t register as postal voters.”


    An exasperated Yong, who took the EC to court over discrimination against voters but lost, added: “This is a ruse by the EC to deflect attention from their failure to amend the regulations.”


    A joint study by the World Bank and Malaysian government estimates there are 1million Malaysians working overseas and, as far as MOV is concerned, that’s the best guess of how many living abroad are potential voters. Considering that 16 million Malaysians are eligible to vote but only 12.5 million (overseas and at home) are now registered, that’s a huge electoral number.


    But any move by the EC to reach all overseas Malaysians would present an inconvenient truth to BN, because their voting intentions might just be a nightmare for the ruling coalition.


    Abdul Aziz said last year that the EC was mulling over whether it should accord voting rights to a huge and electorally significant number of citizens living overseas.


    He’s been busy ignoring them ever since. But while the commission continued to deny their voting rights, Wisma Putra’s foreign office recently appointed 35 out of 104 Malaysian missions abroad as assistant registrars, to enlist voters arguably beholden to the government as scholarship holders, embassy staff or uniformed personnel, and have them register as postal voters.


    The EC has also been diligent in purposeful legislative amendments. Going by changes to the Election Regulations (Conduct of Elections) (Amendment) (No. 2, 2012), enforceable from April 30, 2012, all armed forces and police General Operations Force personnel and their spouses will vote in advance of elections. Armed forces and police personnel on duty far away from their polling centres may now also apply to be absentee voters.


    On the other side of Malaysia’s electoral divide, overseas citizens denied the postal vote have checked with Malaysian embassies and consulates in Britain, France, Switzerland, Ireland, Sweden and Australia in the last few days, enquiring if the law had changed, just in case Abdul Aziz was referring to them. Without exception, they were told they would have to return home if they wanted to vote i.e. they remain ineligible to vote by post.


    Turning a blind eye


    Effectively, a potentially vote-swinging overseas Malaysian community lives in electoral limbo. In denying them the vote, the EC has resisted necessary legislative change that would dramatically reshape Malaysia's electoral demographic, expand the voting population considerably and (here’s the hard bit for self-confessed servants of the government) introduce a totally unpredictable element into the long-looming 13th general election.


    The EC is clearly turning a blind eye to nearly 1million overseas Malaysians who are being denied the right to vote, while actively working to register specific citizenship categories.


    The whole voter-registration programme Abdul Aziz refers to waddles like a duck, quacks like a duck and swims like a duck - it must be discrimination.


    Abdul Aziz and Wan Omar (right), constitutional guardians of the electoral process, are playing loose with the facts on voter registration overseas. Considering their ‘past’ political party affiliations, the greater damage is that they now oversee a system that can no longer be perceived by a discerning public as open, fair, free, accountable and constitutional.


    WILLIAM DE CRUZ is a Malaysian journalist working in Sydney. He looks forward to returning home to vote.
    py

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    Overseas voters tell EC duo to quit over deceit, inaction



    11:04AM Sep 19, 2012

    Disgruntled with the repeated delays by the Election Commission (EC) to enable Malaysian citizens residing overseas to vote by post, pressure group MyOverseasVote (MOV) now calls for the resignation of the commission’s top two leaders.

    In a statement issued yesterday, MOV, a group formed by overseas Malaysians to lobby for their voting rights in the next general election, accused EC chairperson Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof and his deputy Wan Ahmad Wan Omar of “deceiving and cheating overseas Malaysians”.

    The EC is also in contempt of the recommendations of the parliamentary select committee (PSC) on electoral reform, which were endorsed by the Dewan Rakyat, MOV said.

    The group was referring to Abdul Aziz’s statement last Friday that the Attorney-General’s Chambers was still studying whether an amendment to the Election Act was needed to enable overseas Malaysians to vote by post.

    To back its claim that the EC has been deceiving overseas citizens with promises while having absolutely no intention to implement overseas postal voting before the next general election, MOV has issued a chronology of events related to the issue:


    • On Aug 25, 2011, more than a year ago, Abdul Aziz announced that all Malaysians living overseas would be able to vote by post.


    • On Dec 1, 2011, the PSC recommended in its interim report that all Malaysians living overseas should be entitled to vote by post. This was accepted by the Dewan Rakyat.


    • On April 3, 2012, the PSC confirmed its recommendation in its final report and gave the EC a three-month deadline to make the necessary arrangements with government departments to implement its recommendation. This was also accepted by the Dewan Rakyat.


    • On July 11, 2012, having missed the PSC’s deadline of July 3, 2012, Abdul Aziz told Malaysians that “the system (of overseas postal voting) can be implemented by September if we have to amend the law, but it could be earlier than that (if legal amendments are not needed)”.


    • On Sept 14, 2012, two months later and less than two weeks before the start of the Dewan Rakyat’s September sitting, Abdul Aziz has now said that the Attorney-General’s Chambers was “still studying whether an amendment to the Election Act was needed” before overseas postal voting for Malaysians can be implemented.


    Wide rule-making powers


    MOV further pointed out that the EC has its own legal staff and a RM700 million budget and is given wide rule-making powers both by Article 113(5) of the federal constitution and by the Elections Act 1958.

    “Sections 15 and 16 of the Act gives the EC the power to ‘make regulations for the registration of electors’, ‘'to make regulations for the conduct of elections’ and ‘for all matters incidental thereto’.

    “These regulations can be made by the EC with the approval of the Agong, and then laid before the Dewan Rakyat, which can reject them.

    “Sub-section 16(n) of the Act specifically gives the EC the power to make regulations to ‘prescribe the facilities to be provided for voting by post and the persons entitled to vote by post’,” read the statement.

    Hence, it is inconceivable that the EC, with its own legal staff, does not know its own rule-making powers, said MOV.

    “The EC has already made the Elections (Postal Voting) Regulations 2003 which set out the present categories of eligible postal voters.

    “Furthermore, regulation 3(f) of the Regulations specifically allows the EC to gazette new categories of postal voters without obtaining the approval of the Agong or the Dewan Rakyat.

    “The EC has quietly used this to gazette spouses of police officers in the Pasukan Gerakan Am, who were not previously eligible to be absent/postal voters, as postal voters,” it elaborated.

    On Abdul Aziz and Wan Ahmad’s repeated expressions of disappointment that only small numbers of Malaysians overseas have registered to vote overseas, MOV rebutted that the duo was trying to deflect attention from their deliberate inaction because it is currently impossible for overseas Malaysians who are not students or government servants to register as overseas voters.

    “Malaysians have had enough of the deceit and inaction shown by the EC chairperson and his deputy.

    “On behalf of one million overseas Malaysians, MOV calls for their immediate resignation and for the Agong to appoint a new chairperson and deputy who can command the confidence of the Malaysian public,” MOV added.


    View comments (54)
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    Basically, he's trying to play ping-pong with the AG. If he can't do the job, step down.


    Overseas voting: Ball thrown to AG's Chambers



    • Kuek Ser Kuang Keng


    • 1:13PM Sep 21, 2012


    Despite pressure from some Malaysians overseas, the Election Commission (EC) is still waiting for the answer from the Attorney-General's Chambers on the proposal of granting postal voter status to citizens abroad.

    “I don't dare to guarantee (the date), but very soon,” replied EC chairperson Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof when asked when the AG's Chambers will give its feedback.

    During a press conference this morning at the EC headquarters in Putrajaya, Abdul Aziz explained that the AG's Chambers is studying whether amendment to the federal constitution, the election acts or election regulations are needed to enable all overseas Malaysians to become postal voters.

    Abdul Aziz had, on Aug 25, 2011, announced that all Malaysians living overseas would be able to vote by post and the proposal was later recommended by the parliamentary select committee (PSC) on electoral reform in April 2012.

    The PSC had given the EC three months, until July 3, to make the necessary arrangements with government departments to implement its recommendation.

    During the press conference, the reporter pointed out the argument of pressure group MyOverseasVote (MOV) that the Elections (Postal Voting) Regulations 2003 gives the EC the power to gazette new categories of postal voters which it has done previously for spouses of police officers in the General Operations Force.

    But Abdul Aziz insisted that the proposal has to go through the AG’s Chambers.

    He also called on overseas Malaysians who have not registered to first register themselves as ordinary voters with Malaysian foreign missions, because they have to be registered voters before they can apply to vote by post, if the proposal is implemented.

    The EC chief again expressed his disappointment that so far only some 2,400 citizens abroad have registered.

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    Overseas vote - crawling to the finish line



    • William de Cruz


    • 10:51AM Oct 31, 2012


    COMMENT The court case that has seen six overseas Malaysians fight the Election Commission (EC) after it rejected their application to become postal voters has moved tantalisingly toward some form of closure.

    The litigants, all living in Britain, had on Oct 24 called for an adjournment after the commission's senior federal counsel (SFC) verbally notified them that the EC would change the regulations.

    Although no formal statement was presented in court, the SFC told Justice Clement Allan Skinner that the EC was working to allow the litigants (and other eligible overseas Malaysians) to vote by post.

    On Oct 27, three days after the adjournment was fixed for Feb 28, 2013, Malaysiakini reported that the Foreign Affairs Ministry was set to introduce postal voting for all overseas Malaysians, after being notified that the EC would amend the relevant rules and that implementation would follow shortly after.

    The ministry said the amendments had not been distributed to parliamentarians and gazetted, "but our staff at all embassies and representative offices are ever ready".

    Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister A Kohilan Pillay (left) told Berita Harian that action would be taken once the amendments were adopted and gazetted, to ensure information on postal voting reaches Malaysians overseas.

    The amendments are now expected to be tabled during the current sitting of the Dewan Rakyat.

    However, the case launched by the Malaysians - Teo Hoon Seong, Vinesh Vijayan, Paramjeet Singh, Yolanda Augustin, Sim Tze Wei and Leong See See - has not concluded formally.

    The long-running saga behind Teo vs EC began in 2011, soon after the six formally applied to the EC to be registered as postal voters. The applications were rejected and the legal challenge against the commission's decision not to recognise their voting rights - which are supported in the federal constitution - was lodged.

    On Jan 6 this year, the Kuala Lumpur High Court threw out their case in a decision that was decried by lawyers who argued that the judge, Justice Rohana Yusof, had missed the point of their legal challenge.

    My Overseas Vote (MOV), which is supporting the six Malaysians and advising the case, maintains on its website that the court appears to have misunderstood the challenge, which struck at the heart of the 2002 Elections (Registration of Electors) Regulations.

    Papers presented in the case state that the regulations are arbitrary and discriminatory because the EC had prescribed to only allow government servants, military personnel and students (and their spouses) to be considered as absent voters, while depriving all other eligible Malaysians living overseas that same right to vote by post.

    More importantly, the six have argued that the regulations stood as a violation of the constitution, which explicitly allows for voting by absent voters who are not resident in a constituency, including themselves.

    The litigants asked the court to declare that they are entitled to be absent voters or, alternatively, to direct the EC to extend ‘absent voter’ definitions in its regulations so they would include the six citizens and other Malaysians resident overseas.

    Nevertheless, Justice Rohana stated in her written judgment that the court cannot order the EC to make regulations to include the six as overseas voters because the court's duty is only to interpret the laws.

    This stunned the litigants, their lawyer Edmund Bon who continues to represent his clients pro bono, and the legal fraternity.

    ‘Duty toward fair vote’

    The Oct 27 announcement and the EC's about-turn in court three days earlier implies that the commission has discriminated against the litigants in spite of their constitutional rights, and it would appear that the six have won the argument.

    Lead litigant Teo (right), asked why she had put herself forward in the case, said: "There is only so long that you can sit back and watch your country go down the drain."

    Co-litigant and trustee in the matter See-See Leong said: "We don't see the EC amending the regulations as a bonus. It is their duty to ensure voting is fair to all the electorate.

    "They had over a year to amend the current regulations, which discriminates voters on the basis of their profession.

    "The EC now has less than a month to amend, gazette and lay the regulations before the Dewan Rakyat before the parliamentary sitting ends on Nov 27. Will they struggle to fulfil their duty again?"

    MOV says fighting for 1 million Malaysians abroad to become postal voters remains its top priority.

    "Inseparable from this is our insistence on a longer campaign period and secure means of handling the ballot,” it said.

    "If the regulations are not amended before the parliamentary sitting ends, we will apply to bring forward the hearing at the Court of Appeal."

    Until the events of last week, the EC had not been seen to have acted on the parliamentary directive to recognise nearly 1 million overseas citizens as postal voters.

    Malaysians may now rightfully ask: Has EC chairperson Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof (left) shown himself as unqualified for his all-important job, or has he chosen to discriminate within those powers?

    MOV considers it is "inconceivable" that the EC does not know its powers, considering its own legal staff and an annual budget of RM700 million.

    The actions of its chairperson, measured against matters of law and the constitution, until recently depicted a very disturbing pattern of arbitrary discrimination, ignorance of the very legislation he must work to and, above all, contempt of the Dewan Rakyat itself.

    Consider that the Elections Act 1958 empowers the commission to regulate to register voters, including the ability to determine electors. Specifically, it also allows the commission to ‘prescribe the facilities to be provided for voting by post and the persons entitled to vote by post’.

    But while the chairperson and his commission continued to spite the six Malaysians in Teo vs EC and, by extension, nearly 1 million Malaysians overseas, Abdul Aziz used his power to grant postal-voter status to previously ineligible spouses of police officers in the General Operations Forces.

    High stakes

    As farcical as all this may sound, the fact remains that six lone Malaysians continue to risk great financial pain and immeasurable personal strain for the crime of demanding their constitutional rights of the EC.

    The electoral numbers behind extending postal-vote status to all eligible Malaysians go towards explaining why the EC has avoided doing the right thing, perhaps because its chairperson views himself as a government servant, when he is in fact in service of the public.

    According to MOV, which has supported the legal challenge, introducing 1 million Malaysians as voters will mean an increase of up to 9 percent to the electoral roll - a surge in voter numbers that spells disaster for BN, which lost its two-thirds parliamentary majority in the now historic elections of 2008.

    There is now every indication that the 13th general election will be called after the Chinese New Year in February 2013.

    It still remains to be seen how fast the EC will meaningfully act to allow 1 million overseas Malaysians to vote by post in that general election.

    The stakes are high for Malaysia, considering how such a huge voting bloc may spell the difference between a slim majority and a landslide win for Pakatan Rakyat.

    At the same time, Malaysians once again face being denied a clear and present chance to democratically change government after 55 years of Umno-dominated rule under the BN.

    In the wake of denial of their constitutional rights, the travesty of voter discrimination by Abdul Aziz, contempt of Parliament and mounting legal costs, the six Malaysians in Britain insist they will fight on.

    Leong said: "We are fighting alongside Ambiga Sreenevasan and Bersih. Like them, we treat this as a job we have to do."


    WILLIAM DE CRUZ is a Malaysian who resides in Sydney. He fully intends to fly home to Malaysia to vote in the 13th general election.
    py

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Posts
    13,385
    You believe this? Then believe it will snow in Kuala Lumpur on Christmas day!


    Posted on December 5, 2012
    10





    Postal voting facilities for Malaysian citizens living abroad, apart from absentee voters, will be implemented for the 13th general election (GE).


    Election Commission (EC) secretary Kamaruddin Mohamed Baria said this was in line with recommendations from the Special Election Committee on Improving the Election Process for Malaysians living abroad and absentee voters to be given postal voting facilities.


    For this to be implemented, the EC was finalising the policies, logistics planning, manpower and financial allocations before amendments on the Election Regulations (Postal Voting) 2003 was made, Kamaruddin (left) said.


    “After the regulations are finalised, the EC will set a date for its implementation and will be brought for approval by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong.


    “Following this, the regulations will be gazetted and then tabled at the Dewan Rakyat,”

    Kamaruddin said in a statement today.


    Kamaruddin explained that although the third meeting of the fifth session of the 12th Dewan Rakyat had ended, and new regulations had not been tabled, it did not mean the regulations could not be enforced during the GE.


    “The EC will ensure that the date for implementation of the regulations is set, so it can be used in the general election.


    “Tabling of the regulations at Dewan Rakyat, according to Section 17 of the Election Act 1958, is required by law after it is approved by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, setting of the enforcement date and gazetting of the regulations are done,” he said. – Bernama


    Sound familiar, folks?


    Remember the indelible ink fiasco in the run up to the 12th GE?


    Here’s an excerpt of what I wrote on 6th May, 2008, to remind you.


    “Malaysiakini has it on record that in December, 2006, Rashid poo-pooed a proposal from Bersih to use indelible ink as “archaic”.


    6 months later, in June, Malaysiakini reported that Rashid did an about-turn and announced that the EC was in principle agreeable to the use of the indelible ink, subject to two issues being sorted out.


    One of those issues was whether there was a need to amend legislation such as the Election (Conduct of Elections) Regulations 1981 to allow for the implementation of the the proposal.


    Rashid is quoted as saying, “We hope we can carry out the proposal in time for the forthcoming general election because there have been a lot of requests on this, especially from the opposition”.


    Note that at this time, Rashid was well aware that the use of the indelible ink might well need amendments to the law if it was to be effected at the next elections.


    Malaysiakini further reports that in July last year, at a meeting between Rashid and BERSIH reps, the former had said that use of the indelible ink was also subject to prior approval of the Fatwa Council. Further, Rashid had said that the EC was not as yet allowed by law to compel voters who had cast their ballots to be marked with indelible ink and such a move must be done voluntarily by the voters.


    Note here that Rashid was already aware of this issue as early as July last year.


    On 8th August last year, Malaysiakini reported that the National Fatwa Council had okayed the proposed use of the indelible ink and five days later, Malaysiakini reported that the EC had finally approved the use of the indelible ink for the next GE.


    Now, having said earlier that the EC hoped to be able to use the indelible ink for the next elections, one would have expected that Rashid would have got the AG’s Chambers to get into Parliament the necessary bill to amend the law to address the problems to the use of the indelible ink that he was plainly aware of.


    Nothing happened.


    On 7th January, 2008, Malaysiakini reported that Rashid had said that nationwide polls were “around the corner”.


    To quote Rashid : “When I say the election is around the corner, you better believe me because it is not a joke,”


    And still no action taken by the EC to have the necessary laws passed to allow for the use of the indelible ink at the polls that were “around the corner”.


    Parliament was dissolved on 14th February and the EC fixed polling day on 8th March.


    Then came the bombshell. Four days before the last GE, Rashid announces that the indelible ink will not be used.


    You honestly believe the EC is going to give the vote to overseas Malaysians?

    You honestly believe Najib, UMNO and BN are going to give us any of the BERSIH demands?


    What, and sign their own death warrant?
    py

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