It is estimated that there are more than 150,000 voters from Sabah and Sarawak currently working or studying in Peninsular Malaysia. Sabahans and Sarawakians who move to West Malaysia retain strong ties to their hometown. They still consider their state as their home and have stronger ties to their home constituency than they do to their place of residence in the Peninsula. The high costs of flying back to Sabah or Sarawak, and the time it takes, are preventing many of them from going back to vote.
Sabah and Sarawak were the two states with the lowest voter turnout in the country in GE13. The current system is disenfranchising hundreds of thousands of Sabahans and Sarawakians. BERSIH 2.0 believes absentee voting will significantly boost voter turnout in these states.
There are difficulties and complexities with this process and it is important that absentee voting does not give the chance for more cheating in the storage and transportation of ballot boxes. BERSIH 2.0 has come up with a proposal based on international best practices, to give Sabahans and Sarawakians in Peninsular Malaysia the right to register as an Absentee Voter for their state.
If you’re a Sabahan or Sarawakian living in Peninsular Malaysia and you would like to help with this campaign, please contact the BERSIH 2.0 Secretariat on 03-7931 4444.