The New Norm for safe voting during pandemic

With regard to the state of emergency issued by the National Palace for the Sabah Batu Sapi parliamentary constituency, which states that “a total of 16,000 voters have incomplete home addresses and no home numbers, making it difficult to post the ballot papers”, thus we suggest that:

  1. The Election Committee should use the opportunity of this by-election to encourage people to choose to register as a “postal voter” and therefore updating their incomplete home address.
  2. The Election Committee should also allow the early voting mechanism available to these new postal voters who are already registered with a full address, using the postal method.

Enabling voters to vote is the foundation of a democratic country and the Election Commission has a duty to address this, however difficult and expensive it may be.

Under the Malaysia Election Act, the Election Committee has the power to allow all voters to be eligible to register as “postal voters”. As a result, those voters who have incomplete addresses that make it difficult to vote by post, can then update their full addresses when registering as postal voters, allowing them to vote safely during the 2019 corona pandemic; this is not only for voters at Batu Sapi, but for voters throughout the country.

This crisis can be turned into an opportunity as it gives a voter the choice to register as a postal voter as well as:

  1. Solve the problem of incomplete addresses.
  2. Solve the voting problem for one million Malaysians abroad.
  3. Address the risk of infection for East and West Malaysian voters who travel to vote.
  4. Become the new norm for safe voting during pandemic.

Overseas voting is also widely used internationally, such as the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA) in the USA and The Parliamentary Elections Act in Singapore, among others, and they guarantee the fundamental right to vote.

According to the data from Election Commission, there are 32,962 registered voters in Batu Sapi, of whom 3,170 voters live outside the Batu Sapi constituency, including in the Malay Peninsula and Sarawak.

Chew Chong Sin
Maria Chin
MP for Petaling Jaya
Joint media statement by Chew Chong Sin and Maria Chin in Kuala Lumpur on Saturday, 21st November 2020