EC must protect the right of all overseas Malaysians to vote in GE-14 – Global Bersih Statement

Global Bersih is a non-profit organization established under the Swiss  Civil Code which aims to support Malaysian civil society’s efforts to
strengthen Malaysia’s maturing democracy using peaceful action, with  emphasis on the citizens’ right to a free and fair elections which is
ethical, impartial and transparent in all its stages of its  administration and implementation.

Global Bersih

Global Bersih

Press Statement

22 March 2017

The Electoral Commission must uphold the right of Malaysians overseas to vote in the upcoming General Elections (GE14) by taking all appropriate and necessary actions to enfranchise overseas Malaysians in accessing their right to vote, and to ensure a smooth process in registering overseas voters and implementing advance voting ballots for postal voters. There are approximately 1.4 million Malaysians living overseas (source: World Bank).

Under Section 2 of the Election (Registration of Electors) Regulations 2002, overseas Malaysians registered as an ‘ordinary elector’ must return to Malaysia to vote, whereas Malaysian students and civil servants based overseas can register as ‘absentee voters’ to be eligible for postal voting. However, this process enables only a portion of overseas Malaysians to participate in the elections process, as not many are able to afford the cost of travel. Furthermore, most embassies do not allow overseas Malaysians to register as ‘ordinary electors’ owing to lack of information and understanding. Read more

Malaysia’s Bersih movement shows social media can mobilise the masses

Source: The Conversation

The Arab Spring and Occupy Wall Street are not the only media-driven civic movements that have advocated for social or political reform.

In Malaysia a civic movement called the Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections – better known by its Malay name “Bersih”, which means clean – has enabled people to express their political dissatisfaction and long accumulated frustration via social media.

Malaysian politics is widely regarded as contentious. Since Malaysia’s independence in 1957, the current ruling coalition has been in power.

One of the key factors to such uninterrupted ruling by one party is the widely regarded “unbalanced” electoral processes. For years, the democracy has suffered from entrenched advantages enjoyed by the ruling party and the gerrymandered constituencies.

In 2007 Malaysians took to the street to call for a reform of Malaysia’s electoral processes. Subsequently, three massive rallies took place in 2010, 2012 and 2015.

Thanks to the diffusion effect of social media, the size of rallies has grown from 30,000 in 2007 to 200,000 in 2015. More than 70 Facebook groups have been created, plus blogs, and YouTube, Whatsapp were used frequently. Read more