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Don: Why need to increase postal voters?
Published on: Sunday, January 14, 2018

PETALING JAYA: The Election Commission's (EC) decision to gazette nine more job categories as being eligible for postal voting will only create more controversies heading into the elections.

Political analyst Assoc Prof Dr Jeniri Amir said the move, which was done in the third quarter of last year, would create a very negative perception of the body and have more people doubting its integrity.

"Why the need to increase (number of postal voters)? It will only make it worse. You can see the trend in the past, who do these voters vote for? It's Barisan Nasional (BN). It will give the upper-hand to them.

"The people will perceive that when there are more postal voters included, it is some sort of a BN strategy to ensure a win in the elections," he told theSun today.

Jeniri said the call by Bersih 2.0 chairman Maria Chin Abdullah on Wednesday for postal voting to be abolished in order to prevent electoral fraud, and be replaced by advanced voting was timely and necessary.

"Advanced voting (done a day prior to the main polling date) is more transparent, and good democracy.

It is also good to get rid of the perception that postal voting is a fraud," he said.

In October and December last year, the EC included government health workers, the National Registration Department, Prisons Department, Immigration Department, Fire and Rescue Department, Maritime Enforcement Agency, Police Volunteer Reserve Corps, Civil Defence Department and National Disaster Management Agency, as eligible to register as postal voters.

Previously, only the army, police force and their spouses, media practitioners and Malaysians living overseas were eligible as postal voters.

PKR vice-president Tian Chua, in describing the move as ridiculous, said postal voting was prone to abuse as the process lacked scrutiny and that there was no one to monitor it.

He said there was also no sufficient justification in adding the nine job categories for postal voting.

"It just makes it look so suspicious. It will only make the people feel like there is foul play.

If you look back at the records for postal voting, it has always been one-sided," he said.

Tian Chua added that since postal voting was done a week earlier with the counting of votes also done prior to the actual polling dates, it might intimidate the affected voters into voting for BN.

He said this was because they knew they could get caught out if they had voted otherwise, as it involved a smaller group, and as such "would not be a secret".

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