VoteMalaysia’s on a mission

Here’s how you do it: VoteMalaysia postal voter registration booths like this were set up across the UK.

AS the advocacy chairperson of the Malaysian Students’ Global Alliance for the term 21/22, an umbrella organisation for Malaysian student representative organisations worldwide, I noticed a growing awareness overseas of the issues happening at home.

The right to vote is a key principle of democratic elections.

Failure to ensure that everyone can exercise the right to vote is a management failure.

Having been alerted to the news of a coming general election, we approached Undi18, a youth empowerment movement I interned and campaigned with, to join us in coordinating a postal voting drive targeted at Malaysians overseas. Alongside several youth movements, we collectively formed the VoteMalaysia coalition.

To date, the countries involved in this initiative are Australia, the United Kingdom, the United States, Turkey, Japan, Germany, Egypt, Singapore, Qatar, Indonesia and China, with more joining this initiative each day.

Overseas voters have been sidelined for far too long in local elections and we wanted to change that. The goal was simple: to help Malaysians overseas complete their civic duty by ensuring that every postal ballot is counted.

To address the shortcomings of postal voting, VoteMalaysia – in a press conference on Sept 21 – presented three key demands to the Election Commission (EC), namely, longer registration and 21-day campaign period, Malaysian Embassies and High Commissions to play a more active role, and steps to be taken to simplify the postal voting process.But on Oct 20, the EC announced that postal voters only had three more days to register as postal voters. The campaign period, which is the timeframe between nomination day and election day, is 14 days, a week short of our plea.

A recurring problem in each postal voting cycle is the lack of awareness of dates and registration procedures. For example, the common misconception this time was voters had to manually fill in Form 1B to apply for postal voting when it could be done online.

As such, we had aggressively pushed out infographics on different social media platforms to inform Malaysians about the steps they could take to apply as postal voters.

The coalition had released more than 30 advocacy materials ranging from infographics to short videos, explaining various parts of the process such as registering to be a postal voter and contacting the EC on its helplines.

Another notable challenge is the often late arrival of postal ballots to the doorsteps of postal voters, leaving them with little time to fill up the ballot and return it.

During the Johor state election held earlier this year, postal voters reported receiving their ballots one day before election day or worse, after it.

VoteMalaysia is working hand in hand with student representative organisations in different countries to craft a logistical response to bring back the postal ballots within their countries.

We have been contacting student representative councils and community representatives in various countries to recruit volunteers who will be collecting postal ballots in their respective regions before having runners transport them back to Malaysia.

Workshops will also be held for the various countries to guide voters, many of them first-time voters due to the implementation of the Undi18 bill, on how they can cast their postal ballots.However, much of the challenge lies in the uncertainty. We do not know when a majority of postal voters will receive their ballots and that has presented challenges to logistical arrangements. We hope that the EC will ensure a smooth postal voting process.

Malaysians who wish to contribute to the VoteMalaysia movement can participate in our fundraising at

Donations collected will be channelled towards bringing the postal ballots back, covering flight tickets, domestic delivery and postal vote coordination.

Details and updates will be released in our Telegram group (

My hope is that all Malaysians will come out to vote in this general election.

Whether you’re near or far, well-informed or apathetic, an election is the best way to make your voice heard by choosing individuals you deem fit to represent you and your community.

Voting is a right bestowed upon us as citizens so let us make every vote count. The next chapter of Malaysia begins with us.

Lee, 20, is a student at Newcastle University in the United Kingdom and the global coordinator of the VoteMalaysia initiative. The views expressed here are the writer’s own.

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overseas , voters , VoteMalaysia , students


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