Postal voting eligibility should be reduced, says veterans group

National Patriots Association president Datuk Mohamed Arshad Raji said the current postal voting system needs to be improved. — Picture by Saw Siow Feng
National Patriots Association president Datuk Mohamed Arshad Raji said the current postal voting system needs to be improved. — Picture by Saw Siow Feng

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 22 — The categories of civil servants allowed for postal voting should be reduced and not increased says National Patriots Association president Datuk Mohamed Arshad Raji.

He said the current postal voting system needs to be improved although he is of the opinion that it should be abolished completely.

He suggested that a proper duty roster on the polling day would allow security forces personnel to cast their votes on the polling day.

“Unlike our time when we were fighting our nation’s enemies, when the bulk of the troops were either in the jungle or on standby for emergency deployment, we are now in peacetime and troops are stationed in their respective bases,” said Mohamed Arshad in a statement.

The military and police personnel are the biggest majority of postal voters.

The army veteran said the postal voting should be strictly limited to those who are away on national duties and not able to return to base within a day, such as naval patrol and maritime.

“Similarly it could be done for the various civil departments and agencies like immigration, customs, fire and rescue, prison, hospital, and including those on duty during polling day.”

Mohamed Arshad added that proper management by persons-in-charge should enable the civil servants under their care to vote on polling day.

He said the group agreed with Bersih 2.0’s criticism against the Election Commission’s need to open up postal voting for civil servants from nine to twelve categories as they said the system is open to abuse.

“The date for polling is not predetermined well in advance and that it would not be possible to know if the civil servant concerned is on duty on the actual polling day.

“Our southern neighbour has shown us that elections could be successfully conducted without postal voting. Surely we could do the same, otherwise even better,” he said.