EC: Return home to cast ballot

PUTRAJAYA: Malaysian businessmen and employees working abroad should come home and cast their votes at the next general election, rather than register themselves as postal voters. 

Election Commission (EC) chairman Tan Sri Abdul Rashid Abdul Rahman said that at present, only students and officers working in Malaysian embassies automatically qualify as postal voters. 

“This is because they are already registered with our embassies when they go over there for their studies or working stint. 

“But for businessmen and those working in the private sector, they will have to register themselves with our embassies so that they can then fill in the application forms as postal voters,” said Abdul Rashid. 

HONOURED:Abdul Rashid (third from left)and EC secretary Datuk Wan Ahmad Wan Omar (sixth from left) looking at the awards given out to commission staff Thursday.- Bernamapic

“These forms can be sent straight to the commission for processing or via our embassy. When elections are called, the officer of operations in charge of the applicants’ constituencies will then send the ballot papers to their addresses overseas,” he said after giving excellent service awards to commission staff here yesterday. 

Because of “complicated” processing time, which could take up to three months, Abdul Rashid said those registered as postal voters might not get the opportunity to cast their votes when elections were called. 

This was due to the short campaigning period in Malaysia, he said. 

Abdul Rashid was commenting on a letter sent to The Star by one Vijaya Sankar in Britain, complaining of his inability to register as a postal voter with the Malaysian High Commission in London. 

In the letter, Vijaya had said that when he called up the commission, he was told that it had received no guidance or application forms under the current Election Commission's registration drive. 

Abdul Rashid said the commission officer concerned was not aware that the commission had established a working procedure with Wisma Putra to enable Malaysians overseas to register as postal voters. 

Currently, there are around 1,500 postal voters overseas, comprising mainly students and diplomat officers.  

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