By Zurairi AR
PETALING JAYA, Feb 8 — PKR vice-president Nurul Izzah Anwar today asked overseas voters not to boycott postal voting despite disagreeing with its implementation.
She reminded voters that they may risk their suffrage if they do not return home to cast their votes, or at least register to become postal voters.
“Malaysians who have for so long been deprived the right to vote must take this opportunity to return the principle of one citizen, one vote,” Nurul Izzah (picture) told reporters here.
Despite that, the Lembah Pantai MP shares the same position as election watchdog NGOs Bersih and My Overseas Vote that changes to the postal voting regulations by the Election Commission (EC) are unconstitutional, discriminatory and arbitrary.
Nurul Izzah however declined to state which part of the changes is unconstitutional, asking reporters to refer to Bersih instead.
According to her, the EC has informed PKR that as of Wednesday morning, only 1,574 voters have registered to become postal voters.
She put the number of voters residing overseas at around one million people, with 400,000 in neighbouring Singapore alone.
The EC had last month explained that Malaysians living in south Thailand, Singapore, Brunei and Kalimantan, Indonesia will have to return home to vote in the 13th general election.
The regulation allowing Malaysians residing abroad to vote by post was gazetted on Jan 21 based on three conditions.
These are that applicants must be registered as voters, have been in Malaysia or returned to the country for not less than 30 days in the five years preceding the dissolution of Parliament and the state legislative assemblies, and residing abroad except for those living in Southern Thailand, Singapore, Brunei and Kalimantan.
Previously, only full-time students and civil servants and their spouses (absent voters) were allowed to cast their votes by post.
In response, Bersih 2.0 has handed a memorandum to the EC on Wednesday asking for rights of postal votes to be available to those denied in the recent changes.
The coalition noted that in most countries, the requirements for days of stay usually focus on a citizen’s future plans to return to their home country, not duration of past visits.