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Thursday, January 31, 2013

EC erred on Singapore voting rules, says high commission


The Election Commission's claim that Singaporeans residing abroad must stay in the country for three months within a specific period to qualify to vote was inaccurate, according to the Singaporean High Commission in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.

In a press release, the high commission's press officer Filbert Tay said under Singapore's election rules, one must stay at least 30 days in Singapore for three years in order to qualify as an "overseas elector".

NONETay was responding to a news reportpublished byMalaysiakini, quotingBernama in its interview with EC deputy chief Wan Ahmad Wan Omar (left).

According to Singapore's Election Department, to qualify as an "overseas elector", he or she must have resided in Singapore for a "total of not less than 30 days during the three years immediately before Jan 1, 2011".

Registration open

Wan Ahmad had told Bernama that the stipulation for Malaysians residing abroad to qualify as "absentee voters" if they stayed in Malaysia for at least 30 days within a period of five years.

He said that this stipulation was reasonable and that it was practiced in Commonwealth countries such as Canada, Australia and Singapore, claiming that the latter had a "three month" requirement to qualify to vote while abroad.

NONECurrently, the EC has opened up registration for Malaysians residing abroad to sign up as "absentee voters", following demands by the Bersih coalition for it to do so.

To qualify to cast their ballots, an "absentee voter" must have stayed in Malaysia for at least 30 days in the five years prior to the dissolution of Parliament or state legislative assembly.

Previously, only full-time students and civil servants and their spouses based abroad were allowed to vote as "absentee voters".

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