Hornbill Unleashed

October 2, 2017

‘Unprofessional’ of EC chief to dismiss constructive suggestion from Bersih — PKR veep

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:02 AM

Image result for PKR vice-president Voon Shiak NiThe dismissal by Election Commission (EC) chairman Tan Sri Mohd Hashim Abdullah of the proposal meant to improve further the present voting system and electoral process has been regarded as being ‘unprofessional’

According to national PKR vice-president Voon Shiak Ni, the suggestion put forth by Bersih Sarawak to allow Sarawakians and Sabahans in Peninsular Malaysia to cast ballots as absentee voter is a ‘constructive’ one, adding that it is also endorsed by several non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in Sarawak.

The proposal, however, was shot down by Mohd Hashim who said the implementation would be impossible, adding that it would be unfair for other voters in the country should Malaysians from Sarawak and Sabah be allowed to cast their votes as absentees .

In response, Voon said if the EC was sincere about getting as many voters as it could to take part in the country’s democratic electoral process, then it should consider all possible ways to facilitate the voters to cast their ballots in their respective constituencies .

“The EC chairman should know that the logistics issue is a valid and genuine concern that hamper the turnout rate for the polls in Sarawak – one that has prompted Bersih Sarawak to come out with this proposal.

“We wish to remind him (Mohd Hashim) that East Malaysia and Peninsular Malaysia are located on different islands. It will cost at least RM300 to RM400 for one voter to fly back (home) and cast his vote in Sarawak. There are thousands of Sarawakians working in Peninsular Malaysia – how many individuals have that extra (money) to spend?” she said in a statement yesterday.

Voon said EC had disclosed that out of its survey involving 30,000 undergraduates, less than 10 per cent of them are registered to be voters – this is due to many young Malaysians not knowing how to vote and not knowing where to register. In this regard, she said the commission must reflect on whether it had done the necessary steps to overcome this longstanding problem.

“There are about 2.5 million young people not registered as voters, as revealed by Bersih Sarawak and among those unregistered ones, 53 per cent say they cannot find time to register. For years, we have been urging for automatic registration for all eligible voters once they reach the age of 21, but this suggestion has never been considered.

“Automatic registration of voters should solve this problem; thus, it sounds silly and insincere for EC to bring up the issue of the alarming number of eligible voters who have yet to register, when only EC has the power to execute and implement more feasible ways to register them. It is not uncommon to hear about many Sarawakians, aged between 40 and 50, who have never voted.”

Voon said if EC was sincere about improving the voting and electoral systems further – those that would allow all Malaysians to exercise their constitutional right to vote – it should be open to constructive suggestions from Bersih and other civil societies representing the voices of the grassroots.

“It is not right to shoot down suggestions on solutions and feedback gained from the people without any effort to deliberate on it. EC should always remain a neutral body and to do what is constitutionally right in meeting the needs of the people,” she said.

Source : The Borneo Post Online



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