Malaysian voters living abroad must return their marked ballot papers to their respective returning officers (RoS) to ensure that they reach the vote-counting centres before 5 pm on polling day on May 9. (NSTP file pic/Azhar Ramli)

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian voters living abroad must return their marked ballot papers to their respective returning officers (RoS) to ensure that they reach the vote-counting centres before 5 pm on polling day on May 9.

Election Commission (EC) Election Operations Division principal assistant secretary Mohd Sarif Hassan said the issuance of ballot papers for postal voters in the country and absentee voters abroad would be processed by the ROs, witnessed by representatives of candidates, after the nomination day.

Nomination for the 14th General Election (GE14) is on April 28 and early voting on May 5.

Mohd Sarif said the RoS whose constituencies had postal voters and absentee voters would issue the postal ballot papers as early as possible despite the Workers Day public holiday on May 1.

“The issuance of postal ballot papers will give priority to the absentee voters abroad as it has to go through a delivery process which depends on courier and flight services to the voters’ destinations.

“The delivery period of the postal ballot papers will depend on voters’ location, distance and flight service. The ballot papers will be sent directly to the address submitted by the voters in Form 1B,” he told Bernama.

There are a total of 3,653 absentee voters abroad, comprising civil servants and their spouses as well as students and their spouses, for GE14. The most number of postal voting applications are from the United Kingdom, the United States, Australia, Hong Kong and Germany.

Mohd Sarif said the actual number of postal voters would only be known after the closing date for the application, on April 28 for the Form 1A category and April 23 for the Form 1C category.

The 1A category involves election workers, police and military personnel, as well as media practitioners, while the 1C category involves employees of nine departments and agencies who are required to be on duty on polling day.

On the differences between the postal voting process for GE14 and the last general election, Mohd Sarif explained that the EC exercise of sending ballot papers directly to the address provided by the voters was to facilitate them, especially those living far from the Malaysian representative offices or embassies.

Eligible postal voters will receive a priority envelope containing Envelope A, Envelope B and Form 2 (identity declaration). Envelope A contains two smaller envelopes namely pink for state seats and white for parliamentary seats, except for voters in the Federal Territories who will only be voting for parliamentary seats.

“Voters must fill out Form 2, mark the ballot paper and insert it into Envelope A. Insert the Envelope A as well as Form 2 into Envelope B which has the printed RO’s address on it and send it as soon as possible,” he said, adding that the cost of the postal or courier service of the ballot paper must be borne by the voters themselves.

Mohd Sarif also reminded absentee voters to properly fill up Form 2 before obtaining the signature of a witness, namely a Malaysian citizen aged 21 and above, to prove that they were registered postal voters.

The postal voting envelope will only be opened in the presence of the candidates’ representatives before being put into a ballot box for the vote-counting process.

Electors can check their status via the smartphone application MySPR Semak or EC’s official portal at www.spr.gov.my or through SMS by typing SPR followed by the identity card number and sending an SMS to 15888 or contact the EC at 03-88927018. — BERNAMA

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