We demand absentee voting rights be given to East Malaysians living in West Malaysia and West Malaysians living in East Malaysia to be able to vote without having to travel back to their home constituencies.
Over 150,000 registered Sabahan and Sarawakian voters live in West Malaysia. It is very difficult for these voters to return to vote every election as they need to cover the travel cost and take time off from work or studies.
Voter turnout in Sabah and Sarawak is much lower than the rest of the country. In the 13th General Election, voter turnout in Sabah was just 75% and for Sarawak it was 79%. The voter turnout for the rest of the country was 86%.
Urgent action is needed to help protect these voters’ rights to be able to vote without such high costs and difficulties.
We therefore demand the Election Commission and Federal Government change current regulations to allow voters from Sabah and Sarawak who live in West Malaysia (and West Malaysians in Sabah and Sarawak) to vote as ‘absentee voters’. This means that Sabahans and Sarawakians can cast their vote in West Malaysia without having to go back to Sabah and Sarawak and West Malaysians in East Malaysia can cast their vote in Sabah or Sarawak.
This action is long overdue. It was recommended by the Parliamentary Select Committee on Electoral Reform in 2011 and this recommendation was included in the report passed by Parliament in 2012.
The process for this absentee voting must also be secure and transparent. These voters can vote one day before normal polling day at specially designated polling stations in each state. The votes should be counted at the polling station on the same day and the results for each constituency should be sent back to the respective constituencies to be added to the total on polling day.
We call for this reform to be implemented before the 14th General Election.
Sign the petition here