KOTA KINABALU: Sabah Bersih 2.0 is calling for the Election Commission (EC) to consider allowing postal voting for Sabahans working in Sarawak and West Malaysia, in the coming state elections.
In a statement issued on Sunday (Aug 2), the group said an online petition to collect signatures from the public has been started, and will be addressed to the commission.
They said that Covid-19 still poses a serious threat to the public, and added that the as the price of flights are presently too expensive, not all eligible voters from Sabah can afford the ticket home to cast their votes.
“We implore the EC to consider based on these reasons; the pandemic has added extra burden for voters from Sabah to carry out their duties due to a loss of income, and an increase of transportation costs and health risks. This will deter them from going home to vote.
“Too many Sabahans have left their hometowns in Sabah to explore outside opportunities for employment and education, especially youths. The right to vote empowers the people to determine the fate of our own state, and is therefore needed to see a promised democracy, ” the group said.
Sabah Bersih 2.0 said that even with the absence of the pandemic, the cost and difficulties in returning to vote to Sabah, especially for those who do not have the financial means or those who cannot get leave from work, will see many forgo their rights to vote.
The group noted that back in 2012, the Parliamentary Select Committee led by Datuk Dr. Maximus Johnity Ongkili had recommended postal voting for Sabahans, Sarawakians and West Malaysians who were away from their own region. After two general elections, it has still yet to be implemented.
“While Malaysians residing overseas have been able to use postal votes since 2018 even when they were oceans away from home, Sabahans cannot do so as if the South China Sea is wider than the Pacific Ocean.
“We therefore invite Sabahans to sign the petition addressed to the EC at https://bit.ly/UndiPos4Sabah, ” they added.
The online petition via change.org is seeking for the EC to initiative postal voting for Sabahans outside the state during the Sabah snap polls. As of 1.45pm on Sunday (Aug 2), over 1,000 online signatures have been collected.