ALSO BY

Postal voting system must be suspended

I refer to the letter Let candidates know postal votes breakdown.

I would like to share my observations on postal voting during the last general elections. I went with an election watch group to observe postal vote casting at the Bukit Gedung army camp and Patani Road police station in Penang the day before the polling day. What I observed really disappointed me.

The whole polling station were staffed by army or police officers. No Election Commission officer was there to supervise the process. We were told that EC officers had dropped by for a brief visit and then left the whole thing to the army and police.

Since EC is the only body entrusted by the constitution to run legislative elections in Malaysia, this postal voting organised for army camps and police stations are aberrations which need to be stopped or corrected.

Each personnel was given a ballot and an identity declaration form for the two ballot papers each received, one for their state assembly and another for Parliament. He/she marks the ballot paper and then puts it in the envelope provided and then seals it.

Then he/she fills in the identity declaration form which requires a signature from a witness, and encloses the form in a bigger envelope together with the smaller envelope containing his/her ballot papers.

When a voter's identity form is enclosed together with the ballot papers, then this is a violation of the secrecy of the vote. What happens when they count the votes and they match the serial number of the ballot papers to the identity declaration form? The identity of the uniformed personnel concerned is exposed. This process fail to protect the secrecy of the vote as required by the Election Offences Act 1958

Besides that, most postal voters are army or police personnel together with their family members who actually can come to vote at normal polling stations on polling day. Why the need for them to cast postal votes of which the secrecy has been compromised?

The other aspect of postal votes is that army and police personnel are prohibited from attending political ceramah by election candidates. How could they then make an informed choice about their representatives under such circumstances?

Army and police personnel only have one-sided information from the government media and their superiors thus resulting in postal votes being overwhelmingly in favour of BN at general elections.

Postal votes are also denied to Malaysians residing overseas unless they are students or are on government jobs. There are systems used in other democratic countries for their citizens who are abroad to cast their votes on polling day. to vote. This has not been done by the EC thus denying Malaysian overseas of their right to vote.

In view of the serious aberrations above which seriously challenge the validity of postal votes in Malaysia, I think the process should be suspended until a free and fair system can be adopted. Failing that, we are not doing justice to the 220,000 postal voters concerned.