The Coalition for Free and Fair Elections (BERSIH 2.0) is alarmed at the numerous categories of civil servants who have been silently gazetted as postal voters by the Election Commission (EC) in October and December last year.
The new categories of postal voters are members of the following government departments who are certified to be liable for duties during polling day:
- Prisons Department
- Fire and Rescue Department
- Maritime Enforcement Department
- Government health workers working in government health institutions
- Royal Malaysian Police Volunteer Reserve
- Malaysian Civil Defence
- Immigration Department
- National Disaster Management Agency
- National Registration Department
BERSIH 2.0 launched its campaign to abolish postal voting in April last year owing to unclear and opaque legislation and regulations which has in turn, raised concerns regarding the security of the ballot boxes, vote tampering, voter secrecy and most of all – the integrity of the Electoral Commission.
These specific concerns relate to the eligibility of postal voters, storage and transportation of the ballot boxes in advance voting, access for polling and counting agents and the possibility of voters appearing both as advance and postal voters.
BERSIH is particularly concerned with possible electoral manipulation whereby postal votes are used to swing election outcomes in favour of the ruling coalition, Barisan National (BN) as evidenced in the 13th General Elections whereby BN would have lost 30 of its current parliamentary seats if not for the turnaround caused by advance and postal votes[i].
Without the proper procedures and processes in place to assure the voter’s right to choose freely, voter secrecy as well as documented and actual access to election observers, the EC should not be expanding new categories for postal voting, especially when there are other methods at their disposal to enfranchise these group of voters instead of employing a problematic and ambiguous framework.
We are especially concerned as the aforementioned government departments possess large populations and this may tilt elections in marginal seats in favour of the current government, under the proposed circumstances[ii].
BERSIH calls on the public to make a stand for your choice of government, your country and your future. The government should be one that is elected by the people. Come out and vote this GE14 to ensure that voice counts in the fight for free and fair elections – but also more importantly, in securing a better future for all Malaysians.
BERSIH 2.0 Steering Committee
[i] ‘Post-GE13: BN Would Have Lost Without Advance & Postal Votes’, http://says.com/my/news/barisan-nasional-wins-federal-government-what-happens-now-after-pru13
[ii] Refers to conditions that military advance voters are subject to where they do not feel safe to vote freely.