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M’sians Stage Protest in London Because EC Failed to Deliver Ballots On Time



Source: Malaysia Kini

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GE14 is happening tomorrow, but it looks like the ballot papers have yet to arrive in the hands of overseas voters!

Malaysians in London have organized a protest against the Election Commission (EC) yesterday (May 4) for the delay in arrival of ballot papers for the 14th general election.

Bersih UK organised the protest where approximately 30 Malaysians gathered in front of the Malaysia Tourism Promotion Board office around the Trafalgar Square at noon, local time. It was a bank holiday in the UK so the tourism office was closed, according to Malaysia Kini.

With protesters clad in Bersih’s yellow trademark, they repeatedly shouted “EC, where are our postal votes?”, “EC sabotages postal votes,” and “We want a clean and free election.”

Some held posters with the words “Where is our ballot paper?” and “EC is a liar,” while other signs featured cartoons by Zunar.

Many overseas Malaysians not only grumbled about the slow postal service, but also on the high cost of sending their votes home; with prices ranging from £24 to £80 (RM128 to RM428) for each ballot to be sent back to Malaysia.

Postgraduate student, Melissa Sasidaran, 32, complained that she had not received her ballot papers.

“There are thousands of Malaysians overseas who are not able to vote because some have not received their ballot or the ballots are arriving late. Voting is a democratic right for everyone,” said the Pasir Gudang constituent, expressing her anger regarding this delay as a denial of her right to vote.

Source: Facebook

Postgraduate student Hazri Hail, 35, mirrored Melissa’s complains about the postal balloting system although he had managed to hand in his ballot papers to the Undi Rabu Group who is in charge of a mass delivery of ballot papers back to Malaysia.

“I am here to show solidarity with other Malaysians who are not able to vote,” said Hazri.

Teoh Hun Teng, 65, a Bukit Bendera constituent who has been living in Britain for more than a decade, travelled from Kent to London to attend the protest, according to The Star.

“I’m still Malaysian. We care about Malaysia. We want to go back. Especially me, who wants to retire peacefully in Malaysia,” he said.

Bersih UK coordinator Dr Yolanda Augustin criticised the EC for their inability in handling the overseas postal voting service in her speech.

“It is because the campaign period is too short for us to receive the ballot papers. These are lost votes, and the EC has spent taxpayers’ money to send the ballot papers overseas,” said Augustin, a registered Petaling Jaya voter.

She then added that Bersih UK was contemplating on a legal challenge against the EC for the mismanagement of postal votes.

Also present at the gathering was Sarawak Report editor Clare Rewcastle-Brown who made an appearance in a show of solidarity.

When prompted to give a short speech, Rewcastle-Brown urged the protesters to spread the message since they have “truth on their side”.

“You do have a chance, you have numbers on your side, you have truth on your side, and hopefully, thanks to the work of journalists – and indeed Sarawak Report – you have knowledge on your side. So use those weapons, use them well,” she said.

Source: Facebook

Global Bersih had previously disapproved the late arrival of ballot papers. It said that because of the delay, voters are unable to send their ballot papers back in time for the general election on May 9.

Despite that, EC chief Mohd Hashim Abdullah disregarded the complaints insisting that 11 days of campaign was enough time for overseas voters to mail their marked ballot papers. 

Caretaker deputy home minister Nur Jazlan Mohamed also dismissed the complaints and added that the number of overseas voters was insignificant and would not affect the overall outcome of the general election.

Do you think these overseas voters can still make it in time to cast their ballots for polling day tomorrow? 


Also read: Photos of Overseas Voters Banding Together to Send Ballots Home Touch M’sians’ Hearts

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