We, the representatives from civil society organisations and concerned citizens of Malaysia, urge the Election Commission (EC) to implement essential procedural measures that would encourage the participation of overseas and outstation voters in the upcoming Johor state poll.
Based on recent state elections, Covid-19 cross border travel limitations combined delayed deliveries of postal ballots to overseas voters1 could pose a hindrance to these communities from performing their duties as Malaysians.
For example, it is estimated that there are around 400,000 Malaysians working and residing in Singapore alone. From that figure, approximately 200,000 are eligible voters in this upcoming Johor state election. Would it be fair for them to be denied their right to vote just because we have not updated our processes and procedures to get in with the times?
Malaysians, no matter where they reside, should not be disenfranchised from exercising this ultimate democratic right. It is incumbent on the EC to consult with overseas Malaysians and outstation voters to understand the concern and challenges when it comes to voting, especially in the era of endemic Covid-19.
In the lead up to its meeting on Wednesday, 9 February 2022, we the undersigned, hereby call the EC to fulfil our following demands:
- Enable voters to return to vote
Work with the Federal government to expand Vaccine Travel Lane (VTL) allocations for voters to return home to vote. Polling booth operating hours should be extended to accommodate necessary cross border testing and checks.
- Establish overseas polling stations
For those unable to return home, embassies and High Commissions in respective countries can be centres where voters drop their postal ballots. Similar arrangements were implemented in the 13th General Election.
- Early voting in campus for students
For students who are now on campus and undergoing examinations, a dedicated facility should be set up to facilitate early voting. This will also reduce the need for them to travel back to their hometowns to vote.
- Enable postal voting for Johor voters in Sabah and Sarawak.
EC at respective state of Sabah and Sarawak shall assist in collecting ballots and ferry it back to Johor.
This statement is endorsed by
1. Persatuan Pengundi Muda (Undi18)
2. Research for Social Advancement (REFSA)
3. Institute for Research & Development of Policy (IRDP)
4. The Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (IDEAS)
5. IMAN Research
6. Centre for Governance and Political Studies (Cent-GPS)
7. Gabungan Pilihan Raya Bersih dan Adil (BERSIH)
9. Angkatan Belia Islam Malaysia (ABIM)
10. Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM)
11. Pergerakan Tenaga Akademik Malaysia (GERAK)
12. Dewan Belia India Malaysia
13. Arus Anak Muda
14. Angkatan Demokrat
15. Youth in Politics (YPolitics)
16. Pertubuhan Solidaritas
17. Jaringan Kebajikan Komuniti
18. Institut Nyala
19. Engage Network
20. Pusat KOMAS
21. Terabai Kenyalang Heritage Association of Sarawak (TKHAS)
22. Family Frontiers
23. PACOS Trust
24. Advancing Knowledge in Democracy and Law Initiative
25. All Women’s Action Society (AWAM)
26. Save Malaysia Stop Lynas
27. IKRAM Malaysia
28. New Student Movement Alliance of Malaysia (NESA)
29. Malaysia Youths and Students Evolution Johor Branch
30. Malaysia Youths and Students Evolution Melaka Branch
31. Persatuan Kesedaran Komuniti Selangor (EMPOWER)
32. KLSCAH Youth
33. Sisters In Islam
34. Monsoon Malaysia (MM)
36. Voice of Youtharian
37. Beyond Borders Malaysia
39. G25 Malaysia
40. Center of Independent Journalism
41. Badan Perhubungan Negara United Kingdom & Eire (BPN UKE)
42. Institut Demokrasi & Emansipasi Anak Muda Belia (IDEA Belia)
43. University of Malaya Association of New Youth (UMANY)
8 February 2022