Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Overseas vote: EC's 3-month deadline not met

The Election Commission (EC) has failed to meet a three-month deadline to establish a system for Malaysian citizens residing overseas to vote by post, lamented pressure group MyOverseasVote (MOV).

MOV is a group formed by overseas Malaysians to lobby for their voting rights in the next general election. Currently only overseas government servants and full-time students are eligible to vote by post.

The parliamentary select committee (PSC) on electoral reform had on Apr 3 tabled its report to Parliament, recommending the EC to study a system for overseas Malaysians to vote by post.

The EC was given a three months deadline to consult with the relevant government agencies in order to enable the necessary regulations to be formulated.

“This deadline, Jul 3, has now come and gone without any announcement by the EC. This is despite the fact that in May, the EC deputy chairperson Wan Ahmad Wan Omar had stated that the EC was targeting the recent parliamentary sitting (Jun 11 to 28 to make) the necessary amendments to the elections regulations,” said the group in a press statement sent from London yesterday.

“Nearly a year has passed since the EC chairperson Abdul Aziz Yusof announced in August 2011, after the Bersih 2.0 rally on Jul 9, that the EC had agreed to give all Malaysians overseas the right to vote by post.

“Since that time, the EC has given all manner of excuses and 'red herrings' to justify its failure to honour its commitment, and Malaysians have found it hard to avoid the conclusion that the EC has been trying to delay implementing this reform until after the 13th general election.”

MOV said Malaysians have had enough of the EC’s excuses for its non-performance and its attempts to justify the restriction of the voting rights of Malaysian citizens overseas.

Hence it demanded Abdul Aziz to explain why the EC has failed to abide by the three-month deadline set by the PSC and the Dewan Rakyat.


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