The Election Commission (SPR) made a big deal that full time students overseas are eligible to vote as absent voters. But they sure don’t make it easy for students overseas to participate in the coming general election.
Even though I’m a registered voter in Malaysia, I know full well that the SPR is not going to search me out and send me the ballots. Surely, there’s a long and convoluted process to go through.
I did a search and couldn’t find anything regarding the postal voting process. The SPR website provides little information. So I emailed the director of the Malaysian Students Department at the Malaysian Embassy in Washington DC on February 13 and no reply till today. I then emailed the Malaysian Consulate in New York on February 20 and I’m amazed that someone actually responded to my email. But I was told to contact firstname.lastname@example.org. I did just that and the email bounced back because that email address had “permanent fatal errors”. I then looked for the Penang representatives at the SPR and emailed him, but I received another “permanent fatal errors” response.
Should I give up now?
Finally, a friend led me to this site that says that Malaysian students overseas can vote: I would have to go to the Consulate to fill up a Borang A in the presence of a Consulate staff and then send the form to SPR in Malaysia. And one week before the election date, the Consulate is supposed to receive an electoral roll of eligible absent voters and if my name is on that, then I will be able to vote.
Today is February 22, 2008. One week before the election date would be around March 1 or 2. So I have approximately one week to rush to the Consulate, fill up the form and then send the form back to Malaysia, and then the SPR staff will burn their midnight oil to enter my information into the postal vote list, and finally on March 1, my name will be on the postal vote list.
Hmmm…what are the chances of that happening?
I can definitely rush to the Consulate tomorrow. I can even pos-laju (or FedEx) my form back to Malaysia. But I doubt anyone at SPR will even look at my borang A for the next 6 months, let alone in the next few days.
I can only blame myself for not doing this earlier. I should have submitted the form like 3 months ago!
3 months? Who am I kidding?
4 months? Still not enough time.
5 months? Still a bit risky.
6 months? Yeah, I think 6 months should be sufficient.
I should have submitted the Borang A 6 months ago!!
I’ve resigned to the fact that I’ll not be able to vote during this general election…sigh…
One fine day, I hope to be able to meet a Malaysian full-time student overseas who managed to vote via postal vote. They are definitely a rare species. Maybe they can describe the postal vote process to me. I would like to know (a) the time needed to register to be an absent voter, (b) how they received the ballot, (c) how they sent it back, and (d) how tamper-proof was the envelope?