Malaysian voters abroad have been facing problems in receiving and returning their ballot papers, said Bersih 2.0
Electoral reform coalition Bersih said in a press conference yesterday, 6 May, that it has received hundreds of complaints from Malaysian postal voters who have yet to receive their ballot papers for the upcoming 14th General Election.
theSun reported Bersih executive director Yap Swee Seng as saying that some of those who complained said they discovered through the courier tracking system that would receive only their ballot papers a day before or even after polling date on 9 May.
Previously, the Election Commission (EC) chairman Tan Sri Mohd Hashim Abdullah said on Saturday, 5 May, that every postal ballot will arrive safely in the hands of registered voters and that they can be returned on time.
Responding to the issue, Global Bersih, the overseas arm of the electoral reform group, has issued several recommendations on the actions that can be taken by overseas postal voters:
In a Facebook post published on 5 May, Global Bersih has urged overseas postal voters to do the following whether or not they have been facing difficulties in exercising their democratic right to vote through postal voting:
1. Use a courier and mailing service that allows you to check when the ballot arrives in Malaysia. Most courier companies would offer such services to allow customers to check shipment delivery status, but it is usually more costly. However, Bersih has suggested for overseas voters to try to get sponsorship from their local Bersih group.
2. Keep all records such as documentation on your overseas voting process (eg. tracking slips, emails, etc) not only so that there is evidence and statistics in the event that a legal action is taken, but also to have an accurate picture of how the postal voting process needs to be fixed to make recommendations and proposals.
4. Those who are not sending their ballot back to Malaysia are encouraged to participate in Global Bersih's Data Collection survey and share what led to the decision of not sending it back (cost or other reasons).
"This is an important, for example, to highlight that the short timeline makes the process too expensive for many overseas Malaysians," Global Bersih said.
"Failure to register eligible voters is a serious failure in the system and we need to know how many were affected," it added.
Global Bersih said the survey is important, especially to determine how many postal voters have been affected by the new system
In the previous election, embassies were in charge of collecting the ballot papers and getting them home in time. In GE14, ballot papers were sent directly to the address provided by the voters and voters are required to obtain the signature of a witness to prove that they are the rightful postal voters.
Global Bersih, who is gathering data and statistics to get an accurate picture of the postal voting process, stressed that postal voters who did not get a response or approval for their application must first get a confirmation from the EC on their status.
"Please make sure that you get the name of the person you are speaking to, and record the date and time of the call. Follow up with an email to the EC with the name of the officer, date and time, as well as the main points of the conversation, so that there is a written record."
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