1. Why have you started MyOverseasVote?

There are around 1 million Malaysian citizens living and working overseas, out of a total potential electorate of 15 million. Under the Elections (Registration of Electors) Regulations 2002, Malaysians living overseas can register as absent voters only if they are full-time students or military / government servants. Those who are working in the private sector, retired or unemployed cannot vote unless they to fly back to vote.

2. What is the aim of the MyOverseasVote Campaign?

Our key aim is to secure the right to vote for all Malaysian citizens who are living overseas, without discrimination on the grounds of employment or profession. We also want to educate and engage Malaysians so that they are aware of their role in charting the future course of our nation, and more assertive in demanding their rights.

3. How do you plan to achieve your aim?

We are taking a three-pronged approach to this campaign:

  • First, we are raising awareness and support amongst the Malaysian community overseas, via our online petition, Facebook, Twitter, as well as word of mouth.
  • Second, we are engaging with Malaysian MPs, civil society organisations and the media to start a debate back home about the right to vote of their fellow citizens who are living and working overseas.
  • Third, we are raising funds to support a legal action to force the Election Commission to allow Malaysians overseas to register as absent voters.

4. I have been told by the Malaysian embassy that only Government scholars can register as absent voters. Are you sure private students can currently register?

The Regulations are clear that all Malaysians of or above 21 who are in full-time higher education outside Peninsular Malaysia or Sabah or Sarawak can register as absent voters. That the authorities have in ithe past not followed their own regulations is proof of why we need to increase public awareness and scrutiny. It has taken four months of pressure from MyOverseasVote for the Election Commission finally to acknowledge (in Feb 2011) that the information given out by Malaysian embassies was not in accordance with the law.

5. Why should overseas Malaysians have the right to vote?

Malaysians overseas represent 1 million out of 15 million potential Malaysian voters. Many have left the country out of necessity, in search of education, training and employment. But at heart Malaysian citizens overseas are still Malaysians. That is why although they may have been living overseas for 20-30 years, they have declined to take up British or US citizenship but retain their Malaysian passports.

Malaysia also cannot afford to lose the best and brightest of its citizens to other countries. The right to vote is the most basic right of the citizen. Yet the irony is that Malaysian citizens who live in the UK and those who are permanent residents in New Zealand can vote in those countries’ elections but they cannot vote in Malaysian elections. If Malaysia continues to discriminate against Malaysians living and working overseas and treat them like foreigners, then more will be drawn to give up their Malaysian citizenship in order to enjoy the convenience of a foreign passport.

6. Are you affiliated to any political party?

No, we simply believe that all adult Malaysians must have the right to vote, without discrimination, whether they vote for BN or for PR or any other party.

7. What is the Malaysian authorities response to MyOverseasVote?

The Election Commission has stated that they are studying the possibility of reforming the system of registration, but there is no timescale of this process of “membuat kajian”, and it has no beginning and no end. Recently, the Election Commission has given various excuses why overseas voting is impractical – ignoring the fact that tens of thousands of Malaysian students are already entitled to vote overseas.

UPDATE: The EC has promised that Malaysians will be able to vote by post from overseas for the 13th General Election. However, it has still not made the necessary amendments to the Postal Voting Regulations. Until this is done, only students and governement servants will be able to vote by post from overseas.

8. Why is the campaign being launched now?

It is widely believed that the next election may be launched as early as late 2011. Our country is going through a period of enormous change, and Malaysians overseas cannot afford to remain on the sidelines while others determine the future of our country. The Constitution has made provision for the enfranchisement of absent voters since 1960; yet 50 years later, the vast majority of Malaysians overseas still do not have the right to vote. We are not prepared to let another election pass by while we are denied our constitutional rights.

9. Why are you planning to sue the Election Commission?

It is the responsibility of the Election Commission to make the necessary regulations to allow Malaysians to vote. The litigation will go ahead unless and until the Regulations are amended to allow all adult Malaysian citizens to vote without discrimination on the grounds of employment or profession.

10. Do you think the litigation will be successful?

We believe that we have an undeniable case under Article 8 of the Constitution. Whether we succeed or not depends on the independent Election Commission and the Malaysian courts. But we will make it clear that they have a simple choice: either they say yes and give us our constitutional rights, or they say no and they will be completely discredited in the eyes of all Malaysians. Either way, they cannot simply ignore us any longer.

11. How can I get involved?

12. What money are you looking to raise?

We are looking to raise RM200,000/£40,000/$60,000 in order to cover legal fees, disbursements and a contingency fund in case we are ordered to pay the Election Commission’s costs.

13. Why is the sum so large? What will you do if you have money left over?

The sum is 200% of the cost and expenses of bringing a legal claim in the High Court, and taking it up to the Court of Appeal and Federal Court. The sum has been doubled in case we are ordered by the court to pay the Election Commission’s costs. If there is money unused or left over, it will be donated to non-profit organisations that campaign for free and fair elections in Malaysia.

UPDATE: Our lawyers, Messrs Chooi & Co., are handling our case pro bono, so we are now only targeting to raise expenses and costs of RM50,000. 

22 Responses to FAQ

  1. Andrew Tham says:

    I like the idea to vote oversea. I am Malaysian who have lived in Europe for the last 16 years and never vote before. My annual leaves goes to my Malaysian trip. Malayisa is very important to me as my family is still living there at large and it is my hometown. However, one thing I concern is the security of the votes made from oversea. Meaning the post ballot. They tends to be easily manipulated. I do not want to vote is I feel that is that case.

  2. Andrew: We are confident that with the existing postal voting regulations, it will be difficult to manipulate votes sent directly to overseas voters. If they use the embassies or high commissions to send ballots out, there may be scope for ballots to be intercepted, but we will work to make sure that there is provision for supervision by election observers.

  3. L S Wong says:

    I just found this website. Thank you for taking the effort to set this up. I wish you every success in your endevours and will spread the word to others.

  4. Lim Li Tjun says:

    I’m a full time student studying in australia but have no idea how to vote overseas. Can you give a clear instruction on how do we register and vote if we are not currently in Malaysia?

  5. GIB says:

    Can you not sue them in a UK court given it is a Commanwealth country – much better chance for a fair trial compared to Malaysia corrupted system.

  6. Charlotte says:

    Is it now too late to register to vote in uk? How do I register? The Malaysian High Com in London’s website does not show any relevant info at all.

  7. Lim says:

    Hi im currently having my holiday in msia but returning to work oversea next week., i have not been registered as a voter before,can i register as an oversea voter in person while im in msia or i still have to register by post/email? Thx for ur reply,,

    • If you have not registered as a voter, you must register in person at a post office in Malaysia or at an embassy or high commission overseas.

      • Lim says:

        Thanks – have registered at pos office while im home in feb and contacted SPR with the form 1b however i have been advised as follow: clearly this is implying I will not be able to vote on the coming GE, the verification process seem to be taking quite a long time? is there anything i can do?

        “Untuk makluman puan, permohonan puan sebagai pemilih yang dimohon melalui Kaunter Pejabat Pos telah di terima dan nama puan masih dalam transaksi sebelum disahkan sebagai Pemilih Berdaftar.

        2. Sehubungan dengan itu, permohonan puan sebagai Pengundi Pos Luar Negara menggunakan Borang 1B adalah tidak berjaya dan ini kerana nama puan belum disahkan,masih di dalam transaksi dan perlu melalui proses pengesahan seperti yang ditetapkan dalam proses undang-undang yang berkuatkuasa. Semakan nama bolehlah dilakukan pada bulan Mei dan sekiranya Pilihan Raya Umum (PRU) KE-13 diadakan dalam masa terdekat puan tidak lagi layak untuk mengundi sehingga nama puan disahkan sebagai Pemilih Berdaftarmengundi sehingga nama puan disahkan sebagai Pemilih Berdaftar.”

      • Unlikely that the first quarter 2013 registrations will be certified until May. This unfortunately means you probably won’t be able to vote until the next election.

  8. malaysian says:

    Dear Sir, I wont be able to vote this time as I din’t register to vote overseas. I like to know whether i can register to vote overseas in the first place. I went back to vote on previous election though. And I am working in Singapore now. Please clarify. Thank you so much.

    • You can register overseas but must turn up to the embassy/high commission and register in person.

      • KME says:

        Dear Sir,
        Vote Overseas (singapore) registeration still open – for register now? Or till when is the closing date? Where can i get the information or what’s the embassy contact that i can contact to ask in detail?


  9. Joanne says:

    Hi I am registered voter living in Italy. I have submitted the required forms to the SPR but have not heard anything back after 1 month. Should I just keep waiting?

    • You will be emailed once the returning officers have been appointed and approved the applications. None of the applications has been approved yet, but if you haven’t received a rejection that means your application should be ok.

  10. Hari Ho says:

    Hi, I appreciate your setting up this site. I have registered to vote (PJ Selatan) and I’m trying to find the link for Form 1B. Can you tell me where I can find this please? On the other hand PJ Selatan being (I was told by many Malaysians) a very safe opposition seat and with all the shenanigans about voting fraud, I wonder if it’s better that I don’t cast my stone . . . sorry, vote. I’d be thankful for your input.
    Cheers, H.

  11. mat hassan says:

    Saya sudah memohon untuk menjadi pengundi pos luar negara. Borang telah dihantar dan telah diakui terima oleh SPR sejak bulan Februari lagi. Tapi, bila saya semak status mengundi di laman web SPR sampai sekarang statusnya masih PERMOHONAN ANDA SEDANG DIPROSES. Nama saya masih lagi berdaftar untuk mengundi di tanah air. Saya sudah risau sekarang jikalau saya tidak dapat mengundi ini kali lah. Saya tidak mampu untuk pulang mengundi sebab komitmen kerja. Saya juga risau kalau kertas undi saya di tanah air disalahguna oleh pengundi hantu. Tolong!!

  12. Adam yapp says:

    Am I still able to vote for the next GE if I register by the end of next week? I am currently based in England (for at least another year) and would like to register to vote as an overseas voter. Thanks!

    • You can’t apply to be an overseas voter yet – you need to wait until the election is called.

      If this is your first time voting, you need to register as an ordinary voter first. This will take 3-6 months.

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