EC urged to open registration for postal voting early

PETALING JAYA: Registration for postal voting should be opened early by the Election Commission (EC) so that more Malaysians can cast their ballots in the coming six state polls, says a voting rights group.

Undi18 co-founder Tharma Pillai said this was because the six states – Negri Sembilan, Penang, Selangor, Kedah, Terengganu and Kelantan – had agreed in February to dissolve their respective state assemblies in the last two weeks of June.

“There’s a preset agreement to dissolve the state assemblies around the same time. I think it makes sense for the EC to hold postal vote registration early.

“This will give Malaysians around the world more time to register and it is definitely a good thing,” he told The Star.

He said postal voting registration for the 15th General Election (GE15) last year was more streamlined compared to GE14, as many people managed to register as voters online.

“However, the time frame was short and there were several challenges. Many voters couldn’t register in time due to the short registration period,” said Tharma.

During GE15, registration for postal voting opened on Oct 10, while polling day was on Nov 19.

“I hope the EC uses this state election as an opportunity to make things better,” he said.

The EC declined to comment when approached on the topic.

Two other electoral reform groups – Bersih and Global Bersih – also urged the EC to allow eligible voters to immediately register for overseas postal voting for the coming six state elections.

Global Bersih said yesterday that in GE15, Malaysians abroad were only given 14 days to register as postal voters.

“This short time frame also puts pressure on EC staff to process the applications,” it said.

“With the increase in the number of Malaysians voting from outside the country, the EC should extend the registration period to between six months and a year before the projected dates for future elections.”

The Selangor state assembly is set to automatically dissolve on June 26, Kelantan on June 28, Terengganu on July 1, Negri Sembilan on July 2, Kedah on July 4 and Penang on Aug 2.

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