PUTRAJAYA: The Election Commission will be amending the rules to allow journalists to register as postal voters.
EC secretary Datuk Kamaruddin Baria said the facility would be extended to all media workers on election duty, covering 12 categories of workers ranging from journalists and editors to graphic designers and drivers.
“The EC agrees with the recommendation by the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) on election reform to allow media workers to vote via post,” he said here.
Postal voting, however, will not be applicable for stringers or contributors of registered media organisations, nor will it be extended to full-time staff members who are on duty but not covering the polls or related events.
Kamaruddin noted that unlike the conventional rules for postal voters, the EC was working on amending the rules slightly for journalists by allowing them to send in applications for postal voter status even before the dissolution of Parliament or a state assembly.
Currently, the rules require voters applying for postal voter status to send in their forms on the day the Parliament or a state assembly is dissolved at the earliest, and three days after nomination day at the latest.
“We understand that journalists will be very busy by then, so we are amending this rule so you can send in your forms at any time, even before Parliament is dissolved. The forms should be available on our website by Jan 2,” he said.
Kamaruddin, however, urged editors and journalists to make sure there were no last-minute changes in postings after submitting their applications to the EC, as the commission won't be able to make any amendment once their applications were approved and listed on the electoral roll.
This is the first time in the country's history that postal voting is being extended to the media.
The EC's decision follows the recommendation by the PSC on electoral reform earlier this year, urging the commission to allow journalists the opportunity to exercise their rights while on duty.