PUTRAJAYA: The Election Commission (EC) has received 828 postal voting applications since Jan 23, said its chairman Tan Sri Mohd Hashim Abdullah today.
He said 285 of these applications had been approved and the rest were still pending for assessment. "Among the highest number of applications received were those from the United Kingdom, the United States, Australia, Hong Kong and Germany," he said in a statement.
In addition, he said, there were 3,601 registered absent voters abroad, comprising civil servants and their spouses as well as students and their spouses.
"For those abroad who have yet to register as absent voters can do so by filling up the 1B form and send it to the EC before the dissolution of Dewan Rakyat." On changes made in the postal voting process for those abroad for the 14th general election (GE14), Hashim said these changes would not affect the transparency of the voting process.
"This is because the postal voting process abroad will be based on applications made by eligible voters whose identifications will be vetted by the Immigration Department before the EC informs them, if their applications have been approved or rejected.
"The issuance of ballot paper will be done by the returning officer of respective constituencies, which is witnessed by the candidates' representatives when the envelopes are produced to send the postal ballot papers to those whose applications have been approved.
"Postal voters will get their ballot papers directly and they have to mark the candidate of their choice as well as fill up Form 2 for identity declaration in front of a witness to confirm that the recipients of the ballot paper envelopes are the said postal voters. This is the same process being used for other postal voting," he said.
The Form 2, he said, must be returned to the respective returning officers, together with the envelope containing the ballot paper as a verification that it was from the said postal voter.
"The postal vote envelope received by the returning officer will be opened in front of the candidates' representatives before the ballot paper is put into the sealed ballot box.
"The tabulation process of the postal votes is being carried out in a transparent manner in front of the representatives that the contesting candidates have appointed," he said.
Hashim also said the approach used for GE14 would make it easier for postal voters abroad as they were no longer required to go to the Malaysian embassies which could be located quite far from where the voters were staying and in some countries there were no nearest Malaysian embassy available.
The EC chairman also stressed that the commission had always taken into account the transparency aspect while carrying out the election processes including in the issuance, sending, receiving and tabulation of postal votes, which would fully comply to the laws and guarantee the confidentiality of votes.