Tuesday April 16, 2013
KUCHING: Just 298 overseas Sarawa-kians are registered to vote via post for the general election, according to state Election Commission (EC) director Datuk Takun Sunggah.
“There are 92 Sarawakians who registered themselves as absent voters. They are mostly students and civil servants abroad, perhaps with the embassies, including their spouses. They are categorised as absent voters, so they are entitled to vote via post. They registered themselves as absent voters,” he told The Star.
“Then there are Sarawakians who are overseas, perhaps working or for whatever reason, can’t be around to vote here during polling day. They are ordinary voters, with their names on the electoral roll, who have applied to vote via post. In Sarawak, we have only received 206 such applications.”
Takun said the postal voters were from across the state, mostly from urban areas like here Miri, Sibu and Bintulu. However he declined to speculate on the low number of overseas voters who applied to vote via post.
The commission introduced postal voting on Jan 21 for overseas Malaysians. Only 6,298, or 0.6%, out of about a million Malaysians living overseas, have registered as postal voters.
The EC has come under a barrage of criticisms for its perceived slowness in introducing the measure, and has also been accused of setting convoluted rules. Non-governmental bodies like My Overseas Vote has called the commission’s implementation of the measure “half-hearted”.
On a related matter, Takun dismissed talk that unused postal ballots could lead to misuse.
“We send the documents to the address stated, if they don’t send it back, then they (ballots) are not counted. In the future, if they still want to vote overseas via post, they’ll have to re-apply,” he said.
~ The Star