Press release: The Election Commission is sabotaging its own overseas postal voting system

The Election Commission is sabotaging its own overseas postal voting system, which was established after the 2012 Parliamentary Select Committee on Electoral Reform, say MyOverseasVote and Global Bersih

In 2013, Malaysian voters living overseas (except in Singapore, southern Thailand, Kalimantan and Brunei), were able for the first time to vote by post, following the recommendations of the 2012 Parliamentary Select Committee on Electoral Reform. In 2013, the delivery and return of Malaysian overseas postal votes was undertaken by Wisma Putra, with Malaysian overseas postal voters filling out their postal votes at Malaysian embassies and high commissions overseas.

For the 2018 general election, the Election Commission has announced that postal ballots for Malaysian voters living overseas will be sent by Pos Malaysia (PosLaju), and will need to be returned by voters themselves so that the postal ballots are received by the relevant constituency returning officer by 5pm on polling day, 9 May.

However, by setting a short campaign period of only 11 days, the Election Commission has effectively sabotaged its own overseas postal voting system. Postal ballot papers can only be printed after nomination day, when the candidates for each constituency are known. Between nomination day on Saturday, 28 April, and polling day on Wednesday, 9 May, there are only 6½ working days. 1 May is Labour Day, while 9 May has been gazetted as an additional public holiday for the general election. It is believed that the earliest day that overseas postal ballots can be sent out is on 2 May, after the Labour Day public holiday, leaving only 4½ working days for ballots to be sent out and returned by courier.

Pos Malaysia’s website shows that delivery times for their international Express Mail Service are 2–4 working days for Australia, 3–5 working days for the United Kingdom, 3–6 working days for the United States and Germany, 4–5 working days for New Zealand, 4–6 working days for France, 4–7 working days for Ireland, and 5–7 working days for the Netherlands and Italy. Many Malaysian overseas postal voters may therefore only receive their postal ballots after polling day on 9 May, certainly too late for them to be returned in time to be counted.

MyOverseasVote and Global Bersih calls upon the Election Commission chairman to explain on an urgent basis how overseas postal votes will despatched in time for them to be returned by 5pm on 9 May. If Malaysian overseas postal voters are denied their right to vote due to the Election Commission’s sabotage, MyOverseasVote and Global Bersih will assist them to bring legal action against the Election Commission and the Malaysian Government.

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8 Responses to Press release: The Election Commission is sabotaging its own overseas postal voting system

  1. SH Lye says:

    I am a registered voter who is currently overseas, and was sent a DHL Express notification saying that I have an item scheduled for delivery by May 10. However, that is past polling day. There is no way I will be able to put my vote in on time. Is there anything I can do about this?
    Thank you for your work.

    • Hi – please keep all evidence as we plan to file a lawsuit against the EC after the election.

      • SH Lye says:

        Thank you. Feel free to contact me by email.

      • SH Lye says:

        Just as an update, I did receive my ballot paper after emailing SPR to speed up the delivery. However, I only received one for the state level. The envelope containing the form for voting at the parliamentary level does not have a ballot paper in it.
        The forms also require a “tandatangan saksi”, which according to other people I’ve talked to (who have voted in the past) was not necessary for them. Whether or not it was necessary, it’s unreasonable to expect us overseas voters to have a witness:
        Here were the instructions to voters:

      • SH Lye says:

        A correction! I did have my Parliament ballot – It was misplaced; so sorry about that!

  2. limshengteng says:

    Hi, similar to SH Lye, I received a notice from DHL stating that I will receive a letter on May 7th. I’m confused – wasn’t the voting day for Malaysians overseas scheduled to be the 5th of May? Also, do you know if we have to bear the costs to send the ballot back to our constituency office? It will cost me a hefty sum of around 50 USD via DHL to do so as Poslaju will take at least 3 days. Thanks for any advice.

    • This time there is no voting in the embassies; you have to find a way to return the postal ballot to the constituency returning officer by 5pm on 9 May. Many people will not be able to because the EC has set the campaign period so short, and some ballots are only arriving after 9 May.

      • limshengteng says:

        I see. I think my ballot will arrive before the 9th of May, but I guess I’d have to pay for the postal fees myself. Thank you.

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