I'm writing this blog in order to ask for advice. I am not quite sure on how to proceed at the moment. If anyone has any ideas, please contact me either via the comments, or the email listed in the side-bar.
I wish to exercise the most sacred of democratic duties, which is to cast my ballot during a general election. It is a legally protected right and I wish to exercise it. I am a registered voter, and the last time I checked online, I was still on the active list. However, seeing that I would still need to be here for another year, I was hoping to register myself as a postal vote. That's when the story begins.
The first thing that I did was to contact the Malaysian High Commission (Hi-Comm), here in London. I have to commend them for replying my email enquiry fairly promptly and professionally each time. However, in their first reply, they referred me to the legislation page on the SPR website, and told me that according to the regulations, only "government Officer/Staff on posting are eligible to vote post."
Not satisfied, I informed the officer (who shall remain nameless) that I had already read the regulations I was pointed to. Under Elections (Postal Voting) Regulations 2003, Part II, Paragraph 3(1)(a), it says that:
Persons entitled to vote as postal votersLooking up the meaning of "absent voter" in the beginning of the Elections (Postal Voting) Regulations 2003, Part I, Paragraph 2, it defines:
3. (1) Any person who has registered as a Parliamentary or State elector under the Elections (Registration of Electors) Regulations 2002, and is -
(a) an absent voter;
"postal voter" means any person entitled to vote under regulation 3;Looking up further in the Elections (Registration of Electors) Regulations 2002, Part I, Paragraph 2(e), it defines:
"absent voter" has the meaning assigned to it in the Elections (Registration of Electors) Regulations 2002 [P.U.(A) 293/2002];
"absent voter" means a citizen who has attained the age of twenty-one years on the qualifying date and is-Aha! That clearly covers my situation. I am a citizen that is currently registered as a full-time student at a foreign university. I thought that it was a fairly straight forward matter. So, I wrote back to the Hi-Comm pointing out all the relevant regulations. I asked the officer to point me out the relevant paragraphs that disqualify me, if the Hi-Comm insists that I am not allowed to vote.
(e) engaged in full-time studies at any university, training college or any higher educational institution outside the boundaries of Peninsular Malaysia or Sabah or Sarawak; or"
In reply, the officer pointed out to me the exact regulations that I had pointed out, that say everything that I have already said. The full lists of all the people qualified for postal vote are:
- an absent voter
- election officers
- members of the police
- members of any public service posted outside our country
- members of the Election Commission
- any other members designated by the Election Commission from time to time.
- members of the arm forces of Malaysia or any Commonwealth country
- their spouses
- public servants serving outside Malaysia.
- and their spouses
- full-time students outside Malaysia.
- and their spouses.
I'm afraid I wasn't able to deliver your message to the following addresses.So, the SPR is unreachable via email. Even though the mailbox is listed on their website, it doesn't even exist. I am wary against calling them up by phone as it's an overseas phone call. I might be able to pay them a personal visit when I go home for my 2-week break next month. However, I have a lot of other things that need attending to as well.
This is a permanent error; I've given up. Sorry it didn't work out.
< email@example.com > :
Sorry, no mailbox here by that name. vpopmail (#5.1.1)
I'm merely a citizen trying to exercise my legally protected democratic right to vote. The fact that my circumstances are clearly spelled out under the regulations, I cannot understand the push around that I'm getting. So, I need some useful advice on how to proceed.
PS: The saga is not over yet. Hopefully, I can visit the SPR and get a clarification and resolution. I just hate being pushed-around.