Malaysian ruling party BN insist on forcing the military and police personnel as well as their family members to vote under the so called `postal voting’ method where the voters are not allowed access by non-ruling parties and where the voting is not handled by the Election Commission as required by the Constitution. The system had allowed overwhelming support to the ruling parties since the Independence of the country. Such unfair voting practices mean that the BN had enjoyed block votes for its candidates where ever there are police quarters(which is quite pervasive) and military camps(quite substantial in many constituencies, and more are planned to locate 1 at each constituency). The excuse given by the ruling party is incredible: they claim that that is to safeguard the voting rights of the military and police personnel as well as their family members. However the rights of these citizens as voters are violated in a number of ways under the `postal vote’ system eg they are barred from campaign by non-ruling parties/candidates; the secrecy of their votes cannot be guaranteed since the voting process is not open to observation by party agents or independent poll observers. Worse: they are made to adopt less than satisfactory `postal vote’ procedure when they are voting where they are registered! So : why must they vote through a system which is susceptible to manipulations?
Nazri: Postal votes to stay
KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 4 — The government has no plans to review or change the postal voting system for the police and armed forces, said Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz today.
Nazri said the Election Commission (EC) does allow representatives of parties contesting in a particular election to witness the voting process to ensure it was carried out in a fair and transparent manner.
“EC feels the postal voting system is still relevant in accordance with election procedures,” said Nazri in Parliament today when replying to a question by Datuk Abdul Halim Abdul Rahman (PAS-Pengkalan Chepa) who wanted to know if the government had any plans to change the system.
He refuted Abdul Halim’s claim that there were 2.5 million names of dead voters on the electoral list, because the EC updates the electoral list every six months according to a list provided by the National Registration Department.
Nazri said the status of wives’ of police and armed forces personnel would also remain since the EC does not intend to change their status to normal voters.
“If the wife lives with her husband who is on duty in Sarawak but registered as a voter in Pengkalan Chepa, it does not make sense for her to return to Pengkalan Chepa to vote since it involves cost, logistics and other matters,” he said.
He added that the postal voting system provided an opportunity for the police, armed forces, civil defence forces and students studying abroad to fulfil their obligation as voters.
“However, that does not mean the EC will not improve certain aspects of the system because they (EC) are always responsive to changes,” he said.
He added that it has become the norm for the opposition to start complaining to the EC whenever it loses an election.
“Barisan Nasional does not resort to such action even if the loss involves postal votes,” he said. — Bernama