KUALA LUMPUR: Some 10,000 Iranians – out of 60,000 living in Malaysia – participated in their country’s 12th presidential election yesterday.
The Iranian expatriates, who joined their 55 million countrymen in picking the Islamic Republic’s next leader, cast their votes at six polling stations across the country: four in Kuala Lumpur, one in Johor Baru and one in Penang.
An officer in-charge of the Consular Section of the Iranian Embassy, who declined to be named, said about 10,000 of the estimated 60,000 Iranians here were eligible to vote.
The polling stations opened as early as 8am and closed at around 6 pm.
"As you can see, people have been lining up since morning, waiting for their turn. It pretty much tells us that Iranians here, back in the country, as well as in other parts of the world, believe in the concept of democracy, where we can choose our own leaders regardless of their political affiliation," he said yesterday.
Once the polling stations closed, the process of counting was done immediately, and the total tally was sent to Iran to be rounded up for the final results.
For this presidential election, the incumbent reformist president Hassan Rouhani, deemed as a moderate cleric, is facing Ebrahim Raisi, a hardliner conservative. Two other candidates are also in the race.
Jafar, 39, an Iranian PhD student from Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM), said that it is crucial for the soon-to-be-elected government to shape better policies on economic and social development.
"Iran is a great country but it can only be better with the right governance. We need good policies to spur the growth of the economy, reduce the unemployment rate and strengthen ties with other countries.
Mohmedi, a 29-year-old student who has lived here with his parents for five years, said he hopes that Iran could one day open up to the world.
"We have been unfairly treated with all these unjust views that our country is being controlled by a dictator. The administration might be different compared to other countries that practise full democracy. But we still have a say in choosing our leaders, and others should respect that" he said. – BERNAMA