Election staff forced to be postal voters
Writer: Chong Loo Wah
Published: Fri, 12 Apr 2013
SERDANG: Teachers recalled to serve as election officers are being compelled to register as postal voters and this is raising concerns of voter fraud.
Former Serdang member of Parliament Teo Nie Ching has received several complaints from teachers who were briefed about the new measure in a January meeting in Kajang.
“During the last elections, they could go out from their respective polling centres to vote, now they are not allowed to,” she said during a press conference on Tuesday.
The teachers told Teo they are considering spoiling their vote or to abstain from voting over fears that their votes will be manipulated.
Teo questioned the Election Commission’s new regulation which mandates some 150,000 election officers to be registered as postal voters instead of advance voters.
She said the advance voting process, which can be monitored by political parties’ polling and counting agents, is more transparent than the postal voting process.
She suggested teachers to be qualified for early voting scheduled on April 30 in this election like the police and army officers.
However, Election Commission chairperson Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof told online portal Malaysiakini on Tuesday that presiding officers are encouraged to appoint local civil servants as election workers so that they can vote in the constituency they are serving in.
“Only when they have no other choice should the presiding officer appoint outsiders, and these can apply to be postal voters,” he was quoted as saying.
Federal opposition parties have long criticised the lack of transparency over postal voting, which is supposed to enable overseas Malaysians and on-duty security personnel to receive their ballot paper in advance and mail the secret ballot back to the EC.
But in the past, off-duty police and military personnel as well as their spouses have been registered as postal voters too.
The EC will be introducing the advance voting system for the security forces, numbering more than 260,000, for the first time in the 13th General Election.