THE condition that Malaysians staying abroad should return once every five years to qualify as postal voters is reasonable, said Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Liew Vui Keong.
He said the move, which is part of amendments being made to the country’s election laws, is not as stringent as the ones set by other countries.
“This proposal needs to be agreed upon by Parliament.
“Once it is passed, Malaysians residing abroad will be eligible as postal voters,” he said in response to a question by Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang (PAS-Marang).
Liew said Singapore’s regulation on absentee voters stipulated that a voter had to be in the country for 30 days in three years before January of the election year.
For US citizens, an absentee voter needs to settle his income tax and update his address on an annual basis, while Australians who want to become absentee voters cannot be out of the country longer than three years.
As for Thailand, the citizen must live in a constituency for at least three months and must register as overseas voters before a set closing date.
Liew said presently, only full-time students and civil servants and spouses are eligible as overseas postal voters.
“According to the Election Commission, about 20,000 people have registered as postal voters,” he said.
Liew said those eligible as absentee voters were those 21 years old and above, members of the Armed Forces and their spouses, civil servants and their spouses and full-time students as well as their spouses.
“Malaysians who have been offered permanent resident status by the country where they reside will have to give up their citizenship and thus, are not eligible to vote,” he said.
To a question by Anthony Loke (DAP-Rasah), Liew said the Election Commission’s electoral rolls showed that there are 13,052,374 voters as of the second quarter of 2012.
Of the figure, 12,778,127 are ordinary voters, 161,756 are Armed Forces personnel and their spouses, 110,055 police personnel and their spouses while absentee voters totalled 2,436 people.
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