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Sunday, December 30, 2012

EC: No order to stop signing up Shanghai voters



The Election Commission (EC) has clarified that the Malaysian consulate general in Shanghai has not be ordered to stop registering voters and that it problem might be due to a technical issue.

According to Sin Chew Daily yesterday, EC deputy chief Wan Ahmad Wan Omar said that the commission was unaware of the matter and would be making enquiries with the foreign ministry.

NONELast week, a member of the Shanghai Bersih 2.0 supporters group had toldMalaysiakini that the consulate general had stopped registering voters since July.

The consulate staff had told the person that "there was no directive from the higher authority" to hold register voters, despite the fact that other Malaysian missions are doing so. 

Since breaking the storyMalaysiakini has made repeated attempts to reach EC officials for comment. None has responded.
'Complain to the embassy'

Wan Ahmad said that he had yet to receive the facts of the situation with the consulate general in Shanghai, but speculates that it could be a technical issue.

“I don't know the facts. There could be many possibilities. Similar incidents have happened before. If it is true, we would probe and solve the issue as soon as possible,” he said.

One possibility, he said, was that the  Malaysian officials in-charge in the consulate general have been transferred, prompting the Malaysian embassy in Beijing to stop the consulate general from registering voters. 

“These officials are recommended by the foreign ministry and appointed by the EC. They are responsible to approve the voter registration form. Usually embassy has two such officials and consulate general has only one.”

He claimed that other Malaysian missions in Washington DC, New York, Chicago, Las Vegas, Sydney, London and Singapore do not have any problem in voter registration.

Wan Ahmad called on Malaysians who face such problem to contact Malaysian embassy in Beijing before making complaint as the embassy supervises the consulate general in Shanghai.
'Phantom' registration

He said that the EC encourages overseas Malaysians to register as voters, and it would post the registration forms to embassies if they need more.

The EC is currently in the midst of amending the election laws to enable all overseas Malaysians to vote through postal votes, but only those who have already registered as ordinary voters can do so.

According to the EC, those who registered before Dec 31 will be eligible to vote if the 13th general election is called in February or later.

On the issue of several Malaysians in Shanghai mysteriously registered as postal voters although they are not qualified, Wan Ahmad said the commission will investigate the matter.

The present law and the new amendments only allow overseas Malaysians who are full-time students or civil servants and their spouses to register as "absentee voters" who can vote via post.

However, Malaysiakini has received several complaints that those who are not qualified have been registered as postal voters without their knowledge. 

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