Sabah polls: Global Bersih’s absentee voting call not possible for now, says EC

Ec deputy chairman Azmi Sharom says the recommendation by Global Bersih to allow absentee voting for Sabah voters living in Sarawak or Peninsular Malaysia in the coming state polls is not possible for now. — Bernama pic
Ec deputy chairman Azmi Sharom says the recommendation by Global Bersih to allow absentee voting for Sabah voters living in Sarawak or Peninsular Malaysia in the coming state polls is not possible for now. — Bernama pic

KOTA KINABALU, Aug 15 ― The recommendation by Global Bersih to allow absentee voting for Sabah voters living in Sarawak or Peninsular Malaysia in the coming state polls is not possible for now, said Election Commission (EC) deputy chairman, Azmi Sharom.

However, he said any improvement would be made only if it does not affect transparency of the voting process.

“The EC will continue with efforts to improve the postal voting process, apart from exploring alternative options for PLK voters (absentee voters) ...this is being looked into under our improvement plans and a committee has been formed to study the matter.

“This is a process that cannot be made in a rush as any improvements must be made with caution,” he said in a statement today.

Electoral reform group Global Bersih has called on the EC and the federal government to amend existing regulations to allow Sabahan and Sarawakian voters living in Peninsular Malaysia and vice versa to be registered as absentee voters.

The postal voting facility is currently only provided to registered voters who are living outside Malaysia and are registered as absentee voters.

Meanwhile, Azmi said the EC,  through Pos Malaysia, will use the services of an international courier company to deliver the postal ballot envelopes to Sabah voters residing overseas for this election.

This is due Pos Malaysia's temporary cessation of international mail and parcel services, as well as Pos Malaysia Express Mail (EMS) Services to all international destinations, except Singapore, since August 3, he said.

The Sabah Legislative Assembly was dissolved on July 30. The state election must be held within 60 days from that date.

The EC is scheduled to hold a special meeting in Kota Kinabalu this Monday (August 17) to discuss matters related to the Sabah state election. ― Bernama

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