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LAST_UPDATESat, 21 Apr 2018 9pm

Changes To Overseas Postal Voting Won't Affect Transparency - EC

PUTRAJAYA: Changes to the overseas postal voting for the 14th General Elections (GE14) will not affect the transparency of the voting process, said Election Commission (EC) chairman Tan Sri Mohd Hashim Abdullah.

He said the overseas postal voting facility was for eligible voters who had applied by submitting their identity card numbers and passport numbers as proof of identity.

He said the information would be verified by the Immigration Department before the applicant is notified by the EC if the application is approved or rejected.

"The issuance of the postal ballot papers will be handled by the electoral officials for the area and representatives of the candidates who are contesting, will be present to witness when the the postal ballot papers are delivered to the successful applicants," he said in a statement, here today.

Elaborating he said, as with other postal voting process, the voters would receive the postal ballot papers directly and they need to mark their choice and fill out Form 2 (identity declaration) in full, in the presence of a witness to prove that the receiver of the ballot paper is the rightful postal voter.

Mohd Hashim said Form 2 had to be delivered to the respective electoral officers with the envelope containing the ballot paper to confirm that the vote was from the postal voter.

He added that the postal ballot envelope received would be opened in the presence of representatives of the candidates before they are put in a ballot box and the counting process would also be witnessed by the candidates’ representatives.

"This method makes it easier for overseas postal voters because they do not have to travel far to get to the embassy or Malaysia Representative Office (Malawakil)", he said adding that in some countries there were no Malawakil nearby.

Mohd Hashim stressed that the EC would always ensure transparency in every election process and  legal requirements were complied with to ensure secrecy of the vote.

For the record, he said to date the EC had received 828 overseas postal ballot applications since it was opened on Jan 23 and 285 of the application had been approved while the rest were still being reviewed.

Mohd Hashim said the most number of applications were from the United Kingdom, the United States, Australia, Hong Kong and Germany

In addition, he said there were 3,601 registered absent voters abroad, comprising civil servants and full-time students as well as their spouses.

He said civil servants and full-time  students as well as their spouses abroad who had not registered as absent voters must apply for the postal ballot through Form 1B to the EC, before Parliament is dissolved.

-BERNAMA