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Date [ 2013-04-24, 11:40 ]

Being a true Malaysian citizen is enough to give you the power to vote.

(Kuala Lumpur=koreanpress) by Ramani rather = Come Sunday May 28, Araf Ariffin will be at the consulate-general in Los Angeles by 9.30am the latest. Over in New York, Lee Kam Keng will be doing the same. Also planning to stand in line at the Malaysian embassy in Washington D.C. is Vimla Nair.

Reason?

For the first time, these Malaysians can post their votes for the 13th. General Election to be held on May 5, 2013 in Malaysia. They are very excited as Malaysians residing in the United States had long expressed the wish to vote. Previously there were no facilities to do. But now the Malaysian government has set the machinery in motion to do so, and thus joining the small group of countries that allow its citizens to vote from abroad.

The Malaysian Association of America (MAA) estimates there are more than 100,000 Malaysians all over the United States. Its Chairman, Kim Bong wishes,”... for a democratic, fair and just government for all Malaysians.”

And in Britain

It is the same in the United Kingdom (UK). Malaysians there too are eager to cast their votes. Faisal Norshan, working as a baker, informed that his registration was a breeze. “I went to the web site and sent in my particulars. Within minutes I got a reply and yes! I am registered.” It was obvious he could not contain his excitement.

Celia Yeow was of the same opinion. She had enrolled at the award winning Pineapple School of Dance in London. “My friends told me about it and so I registered. Now to send my vote in on Sunday,” she enthused.

Just like back in Malaysia, agents of the candidates of political parties will observe the voting. A clerk will counter-check the voters’ list at the polling centre in London and hand over to the voters their respective ballot papers. The voter then proceeds to the polling booth to vote and the marked ballot is then cast into a bag. The marked ballot ensures there is no rigging. After the voting is closed, the bag will be taken by an official back to Malaysia by air as early as possible. This scenario will be repeated in other polling stations worldwide.

Note that Malaysians working in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia had also undergone the same registration process recently.

A Better Showing Needed

At last count only 6,360 Malaysians out of over 700,000 living abroad have registered as postal voters.

No surprise EC Chairman, Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof feels disappointed. “We have made the process simple, allowing Malaysians abroad to either e-mail or fax over their particulars.”

This would be information of their identity card or passport which would then be tallied against the electoral roll. The Chairman expected at least over 200,000 registrations and felt the EC should not be held accountable for the small figures. ‘Ample time was given, from January 21st to April 3rd, he revealed.

But Bersih’s steering committee member, Wong Chin Huat still blamed it on the EC for the low number of registered overseas voters. He felt the late announcement of the registration of overseas voters contributed to this...

Words of Advice

The Election Commission (EC) prefers overseas voters to cast their votes at the respective Malaysian missions as soon as they receive their ballot papers. “This is to avoid any complications,” informed the Deputy Chairman, Datuk Wira Wan Ahmad Wan Omar.
April 24th will be the day when all 6,360 sets of ballot papers, sealed in a diplomatic bag are delivered to the 103 missions handling postal votes worldwide. They will arrive back sealed again to returning officers in Malaysia in diplomatic bags.

Wan Ahmad reiterated that overseas voters had the choice of taking their votes home and later posting it to their returning officer. They however risk not having their ballots reach their returning officer before 5pm on the polling day May 5th.

He assured security will be strong, there will witnesses to see that voting is above board, with voters themselves placing the ballots in the envelopes and into the ballot sack.” Various measures have been implemented to see that there is no tampering with the envelopes and that they reach their destination within the stipulated time frame.”

Polling starts from 9am. to 6pm in Malaysian missions, except in London and Melbourne where it is extended to 8pm. This is due to Australia and Britain holding the largest number of overseas voters. They each have over 1,000 registered voters. The next largest has been in China.
As May 5th draws near, overseas voters will make the first move with their votes. The final
 
outcome is anybody’s guess.  abc@koreanpress.net

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