PH GE15 manifesto to include reform to allow M’sians residing outside home states to vote

Dr Kelvin Yii

KUCHING, Oct 25: One of the reforms to be included in Pakatan Harapan’s (PH) upcoming manifesto is to come up with a proper mechanism for the Election Commission (EC) to allow Sarawakians and Sabahans residing in Peninsular Malaysia and vice versa, to vote without having to travel back to their home states.

According to Democratic Action Party (DAP) candidate for Bandar Kuching, Dr Kelvin Yii Lee Wuen, this is part of their reforms to address the failures of the current government by coming up with the necessary electoral reforms to facilitate more participation and ensure that the right to vote is not exclusively for the rich or those who can afford to travel back.

“This is even more real for students or even young adults who have little choice but to travel far from their hometown to study or work but have insufficient funds to travel back to vote. This is something that I have been personally pushing for in Parliament since I was elected in 2018.

“In 2019, I had a meeting with the then EC chairman Azhar Harun who was receptive to the idea and was studying its mechanism. I even tabled an emergency motion in Parliament in 2021 to compel the EC to implement such reforms to provide a safer environment for voters to vote during a pandemic,” said Dr Yii who is also Democratic Action Party Socialist Youth (Dapsy) national chief, in a statement.

Such mechanism, he said, must be properly finetuned, including making the necessary procedural changes to extend the categories for ‘advanced voting’ to include Sabahans and Sarawakians residing in Peninsular Malaysia or vice versa.

“While postal voting may be one of the solutions for this and probably easier to implement, we cannot deny that there are questions of integrity and public trust issues on this method as it may be more vulnerable to abuse. That is why one of the alternatives is to expand the advanced voting system to these segments of voters so that they can vote at specific advanced voting places, whether in each state or major state, like how the army and police do their voting.

“In order for that to happen, these voters must register to qualify for ‘out of region voters’ and be in the EC system, then on the designated voting day, walk into the advanced voting station, and cast their vote within the presence of independent observers and polling agents,” he said.

He further explained that the ballot boxes then would be sealed and secured under lock and key and be kept under a 24-hour CCTV surveillance, possibly livestreamed, before being transferred to the respective constituency under proper security until polling day to be counted.

“This could be one of the alternatives that PH will explore to properly address this issue so that the EC can reform and innovate to encourage more voter participation, on top of providing a safer voting environment even during a pandemic,” he said. — DayakDaily