PETALING JAYA: While the Amazing Race-like effort to bring postal votes back to Malaysia, which was first seen in the last general election, made a comeback in the 15th General Election (GE15), some Malaysians overseas had to give voting a miss due to the non-arrival or late arrival of postal ballots.
A scroll through social media showed Malaysians still scrambling until the eleventh hour to find witnesses and a flyer to ferry their votes back home.
Some even went to nearby cities and tried their luck at airports in search of a flyer who could get their votes back to Kuala Lumpur.
Others helped their fellow countrymen find the contacts of the nearest volunteers who would be flying to Malaysia.
One voter in South Korea, who only wanted to be known as Jay, said he only received his ballot paper yesterday afternoon.
“It was impossible for me to find a Malaysian witness and send it back on time. I am disappointed as I was so eager to vote,” the 34-year-old from Petaling Jaya said.
“If the ballot had arrived earlier, I would have been able to return it. Perhaps the Election Commission should find a better way for postal votes before the next elections.”
Washington DC-based Marcus Lee, a voter in Balik Pulau, Penang, said a parcel of over 10 postal ballots to several constituencies including Tawau, Sungai Siput, Jelutong, Bukit Bendera, Kota Raja, Segambut and Setiawangsa – which were shipped to Malaysia via United Parcel Service (UPS) – had been held back at the cargo due to the public holiday.
“They arrived at the KLIA cargo and UPS has scanned for import but is not delivering today (yesterday) due to the holidays,” he said, adding that he was notified the parcel would only be sent out on Monday.
Nov 18 and 19 have been declared public holidays for GE15.
Lee said the parcel, which was shipped out on Nov 14, was originally scheduled to arrive in Malaysia on Nov 17, but an unforeseen aircraft mechanical failure caused a delay.
First-time voter Nathaniel William Philip, a 24-year-old engineering student in Reutlingen, Germany, was one of the Malaysians whose postal ballot papers never arrived.
Voicing his disappointment, he said he was looking forward to voting in his first election.
Although the Election Commission website showed that his application had been approved, Nathaniel said he did not receive any information on the postal tracking status of his ballot.
“I am definitely frustrated at this point, since looking at the candidates for Sepanggar (Sabah), it does look like it’s going to be a tight race,” he added.
Nathaniel said there were 11 of them in Reutlingen who registered for postal voting, and only five got their ballots on time.
Helen Kong-Smith, an educator residing in New Zealand, has not received hers as well.
“I did not receive any tracking status and my postal ballot paper. Rang my returning officer and found out they had posted it and it was received by Pusat Mel Nasional in Shah Alam on Nov 8. Rang Pusat Mel Nasional but no one picked up. Rang DHL Malaysia and DHL New Zealand but without a tracking number they couldn’t trace the parcel.
“I was deprived of my right to vote. I would like to know how to lodge a complaint on this,” she said.
There are over 48,000 Malaysians overseas who are postal voters and more than 32,000 postal ballots arrived in Malaysia by yesterday.