MyOverseasVote clarifies Federal Constitution for Najib

Article 119 of the Federal Constitution currently provides that every Malaysian citizen has the right to vote so long as he is at least 21 years old and registered either as a voter resident in a constituency or as an “Absent Voter”.

At the 5th Annual Malaysian Student Leaders Summit on 31 July 2011, the Prime Minister, Dato’ Seri Najib Tun Razak was asked how Malaysians studying and working abroad could vote from overseas. In his answer, the Prime Minister said that he would look into the practicalities of allowing overseas voting and whether it was necessary to amend the Constitution in order to allow Malaysians overseas to vote(ref. 1).

We are disappointed that the Prime Minister appears to be in the dark about the whole issue of overseas voting. Article 119 of the Federal Constitution currently provides that every Malaysian citizen has the right to vote so long as he is at least 21 years old and registered either as a voter resident in a constituency or as an “Absent Voter”. Pursuant to the Elections (Postal Voting) Regulations 2003, all absent voters are entitled to receive postal ballots when an election is called.

Unfortunately the regulations governing the registration of absent voters, which are made by the Election Commission and approved by the Government, currently discriminate between citizens on the grounds of their occupation and employment.

The Elections (Registration of Voters) Regulations 2002 allows only three categories of Malaysian citizens to register as absent voters: a) serving members of a Malaysian, Commonwealth or foreign military and their spouses; b) government servants serving outside Peninsular Malaysia or Sabah or Sarawak and their spouses; and c) full-time students studying outside Peninsular Malaysia or Sabah or Sarawak and their spouses. The 2002 Regulations thereby exclude nearly a million Malaysians stationed overseas who work in the private sector or who are retired. The Prime Minister should explain why it is that a Malaysian who is serving with a foreign military is entitled to vote as an absent voter, yet a Malaysian who works overseas for a Malaysian or multinational company is deprived of the right to vote.

For full story Here http://www.malaysia-today.net/mtcolumns/letterssurat/42533-myoverseasvote-clarifies-federal-constitution-for-najib

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July 9th 2011 is a new day forward
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