Disgruntled with the repeated delays by the Election Commission (EC) to enable Malaysian citizens residing overseas to vote by post, pressure group MyOverseasVote (MOV) now calls for the resignation of the commission’s top two leaders.

azlanIn a statement issued yesterday, MOV, a group formed by overseas Malaysians to lobby for their voting rights in the next general election, accused EC chairperson Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof and his deputy Wan Ahmad Wan Omar of “deceiving and cheating overseas Malaysians”.

The EC is also in contempt of the recommendations of the parliamentary select committee (PSC) on electoral reform, which were endorsed by the Dewan Rakyat, MOV said.

The group was referring to Abdul Aziz’s statement last Friday that the Attorney-General’s Chambers was still studying whether an amendment to the Election Act was needed to enable overseas Malaysians to vote by post.

NONETo back its claim that the EC has been deceiving overseas citizens with promises while having absolutely no intention to implement overseas postal voting before the next general election, MOV has issued a chronology of events related to the issue:
  • On Aug 25, 2011, more than a year ago, Abdul Aziz announced that all Malaysians living overseas would be able to vote by post.
  • On Dec 1, 2011, the PSC recommended in its interim report that all Malaysians living overseas should be entitled to vote by post. This was accepted by the Dewan Rakyat.
  • On April 3, 2012, the PSC confirmed its recommendation in its final report and gave the EC a three-month deadline to make the necessary arrangements with government departments to implement its recommendation. This was also accepted by the Dewan Rakyat.
  • On July 11, 2012, having missed the PSC’s deadline of July 3, 2012, Abdul Aziz told Malaysians that “the system (of overseas postal voting) can be implemented by September if we have to amend the law, but it could be earlier than that (if legal amendments are not needed)”.
  • On Sept 14, 2012, two months later and less than two weeks before the start of the Dewan Rakyat’s September sitting, Abdul Aziz has now said that the Attorney-General’s Chambers was “still studying whether an amendment to the Election Act was needed” before overseas postal voting for Malaysians can be implemented.
Wide rule-making powers

MOV further pointed out that the EC has its own legal staff and a RM700 million budget and is given wide rule-making powers both by Article 113(5) of the federal constitution and by the Elections Act 1958.

“Sections 15 and 16 of the Act gives the EC the power to ‘make regulations for the registration of electors’, ‘'to make regulations for the conduct of elections’ and ‘for all matters incidental thereto’.

“These regulations can be made by the EC with the approval of the Agong, and then laid before the Dewan Rakyat, which can reject them.

azlan“Sub-section 16(n) of the Act specifically gives the EC the power to make regulations to ‘prescribe the facilities to be provided for voting by post and the persons entitled to vote by post’,” read the statement.

Hence, it is inconceivable that the EC, with its own legal staff, does not know its own rule-making powers, said MOV.

“The EC has already made the Elections (Postal Voting) Regulations 2003 which set out the present categories of eligible postal voters.

“Furthermore, regulation 3(f) of the Regulations specifically allows the EC to gazette new categories of postal voters without obtaining the approval of the Agong or the Dewan Rakyat.

“The EC has quietly used this to gazette spouses of police officers in the Pasukan Gerakan Am, who were not previously eligible to be absent/postal voters, as postal voters,” it elaborated.

On Abdul Aziz and Wan Ahmad’s repeated expressions of disappointment that only small numbers of Malaysians overseas have registered to vote overseas, MOV rebutted that the duo was trying to deflect attention from their deliberate inaction because it is currently impossible for overseas Malaysians who are not students or government servants to register as overseas voters.

“Malaysians have had enough of the deceit and inaction shown by the EC chairperson and his deputy.

“On behalf of one million overseas Malaysians, MOV calls for their immediate resignation and for the Agong to appoint a new chairperson and deputy who can command the confidence of the Malaysian public,” MOV added.