Online voting: Abdul Karim urges EC to be more ‘forward-thinking’, create future-oriented election system

Abdul Karim (left) talking to reporters at a press conference today (Oct 17, 2022). Also seen is Tourism, Creative Industry and Performing Arts Deputy Minister Datuk Sebastian Ting.

By Ashley Sim

KUCHING, Oct 17: Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) vice-president Dato Sri Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah has urged the Election Commission (EC) to be more forward-thinking.

Telling them to ‘jangan tidur‘ (don’t sleep on it), he said they must create a future-oriented election system to enable Sarawakians residing in West Malaysia and students studying abroad to fulfil their voting obligations.

Abdul Karim also urged the EC to develop a foolproof online voting system in the near future.

“As we live in the digital age, I believe EC must be more forward-thinking.

“We trust online banking, so why can’t EC trust the online voting system?” Abdul Karim told reporters today at a press conference following the 2022 Malaysia Inbound Chinese Association (Mica) Foliday and B2B Business Networking Session held earlier at a hotel here.

Abdul Karim, also the Sarawak Minister for Tourism, Creative Industry, and Performing Arts, continued by stating that it is currently difficult for voters outside of Sarawak to return because of the high cost of air travel.

“If EC can implement postal voting for the military, why can’t it do the same for voters outside their respective states?

“Therefore, I would like to see a better system implemented, which is the way forward,” he said.

Furthermore, when asked whether the alternative of online voting or postal voting would be implemented in the 15th General Election (GE15) later, Abdul Karim, also Asajaya assemblyman, stated that it is impossible because parliament has been dissolved and amending the law is difficult.

“However, the system needs to be improved for the next election.

“Because we live in the digital age, I believe that we should improve the system by instituting an online voting system,” he asserted.

He emphasised the importance of researching the issue so people can easily carry out their voting responsibilities.

Moreover, Sarawak Premier Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg stated last Saturday during the Lan Berambeh Anak Sarawak 2022 town hall session in Kuala Lumpur that the Sarawak government will consider the cheapest and most appropriate solution to allow Sarawak children enrolled in higher learning institutions (IPTs) abroad to return before GE15.

In this regard, Abdul Karim commented that he personally saw that if the Sarawak government financed or paid voters to return, it would cause confusion or become an election offence.

“I am sure EC and Sarawak Premier would like to see those eligible to vote to carry out their responsibilities.

“But we need to look into this further because we don’t want to make any mistakes during the election.

“Whoever wins the election, including Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS), we want to win without being tainted,” he noted. — DayakDaily