PETALING JAYA: Persons with disabilities will be given priority to vote if they have their disabled person’s card with them.
Election Academy deputy director (Academic) Norlinah Jamman said this was part of the Election Commission’s (EC) efforts to ensure a smooth voting process.
“When they arrive at the voting centre, they can directly see the police and ask to skip the queue.
“We want to help, as long as you let us know that you need assistance,” said Norlinah, adding that priority was given to them as there was no special queue for them, unlike the queue for older people.
Norlinah was speaking to The Star after conducting a briefing session on the voting process for persons with disabilities at Brickfields Asia College here, an event organised by Senator Bathmavathi Krishnan, who is a person with disability herself.
She said another change made to ease the voting process was that a trusted person, who was chosen by a person with disability to accompany him or her in the voting centre, need no longer be a family member.
“Before this, EC had ruled that the trusted person must be a family member but now it can be anyone who is aged 21 and above and a Malaysian citizen,” she said.
Bathmavathi, who is also the founding president of the Association of Women With Disabilities Malaysia, said that the session was meant to address the questions and concerns that persons with disabilities have regarding the voting process.
“I was reading the procedures (of voting) and had some questions (on it), so I went to see EC personally.
“Then I thought, it would be good if the information I got could also be conveyed to other voters with disabilities,” she said.
She added there were persons with disabilities who did not vote because they thought the process would be difficult for them.
She said that having voted throughout the years, she felt that the voting process has been made gradually easier.
She however said that more needed to be done, especially for those who were blind.
“Sign language interpreters are also important, as those who are deaf and mute might have questions at the centre.
“If they are not given the chance to seek clarification, it may affect their attempt to cast their votes,” she added.