Give full details on overseas voting, EC told

G Lavendran

| March 2, 2013

The EC will only have themselves to blame if an ill-conceived and haphazardly implemented postal vote leads to court challenges, warn the watchdogs.
PETALING JAYA: A group of electoral watchdogs have asked the Election Commission (EC) to provide full details on how overseas voting will be implemented and monitored.

Bersih 2.0, MyOverseasVote and Global Bersih said in a joined statement today that the EC must be compelled to allow election agents, monitors and observers in all Malaysian overseas missions.

They urged all political parties and their candidates to demand that the EC acts urgently on this matter, on behalf of the constituencies and the citizens they wish to represent in Parliament.

“The EC will only have themselves to blame if an ill-conceived and haphazardly implemented postal vote leads to court challenges,” they said.

“EC has neither provided clear information on how polling will be carried out abroad, nor publicly and clearly addressed the issue of election agents, monitors and observers.

“We are all aware that Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak will be announcing the election date soon, the EC has to step up,” they added.

Global Bersih claimed they are now recruiting volunteer election agents, monitors and observers for polling stations abroad and in Malaysia, in a worldwide expansion of Bersih 2.0′s “Pemantau” campaign.

Pemantau aims at mobilising some 10,000 citizens as observers to ensure the upcoming 13th general election is free of fraud.

The electoral watchdogs also said that the volunteers must be accredited by the EC to be fully effective, but the commission has not moved to put such an accreditation mechanism in place.

“Until last January, the postal vote was restricted to full-time students, public servants, member of the armed forces and their spouses living overseas.

“We welcome expansion of postal voter categories as a positive first step as hundreds of thousands more may now choose to exercise voting rights from abroad,” they said.

They also claimed that Malaysians overseas and here are already volunteering to help monitor the election process, so political parties and the EC must now come up with an agreement on how to deploy citizens who are prepared to do their national duty.

The electoral watchdogs stressed that if the EC does not act urgently, Malaysia faces the real danger that the election results will be challenged as null, void and unconstitutional because of the failure to implement the voting process correctly.

“The most important general election in Malaysia’s history may thus be held hostage by the very institution that is constitutionally charged with delivering a transparent and legitimate election,” they said.

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