Rela Members Not Qualified For Postal Voting
PUTRAJAYA: Election Commission (EC) chairman Tan Sri Mohd Hashim Abdullah today rubbished claims that there would be nearly four million postal voters in the 14th General Election (GE14), comprising mostly of People’s Volunteer Corps (Rela) members.
He described the claim, which had misconstrued Rela as part of the Police Volunteer Reserve (PVR) force, as untrue, with an intention to confuse the people.
“PVR members are those who have been appointed under Section 35 of the Police Act 1967. This shows that Rela is not in the same category as the PVR force.
“Under the Elections (Postal Voting) Regulations 2003, any citizen can register themselves as a postal voter provided the person is part of the postal voting categories, which have been set by the EC.
“Up to GE13, EC has set categories of electorate that are allowed to become postal voters including police and military personnel, who can’t be present during voting day,” he said.
Hashim said those in the media industry, as well as the EC staff who have to be on duty outside the constituencies that they have registered as voters, were given the facility to cast their ballot via post too.
For outstation voters, who are working or studying abroad, and their spouses, as well as Malaysians listed as absent voters, Hashim said they were also allowed to cast their vote via post.
EC, he said, had recently gazetted additional categories on Oct 23 and Dec 13 last year based on the Elections (Postal Voting) Regulations 2013.
The said categories involve on-duty firemen, healthcare staff of government hospitals and clinics; personnel of Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency, Malaysian Prison Department, Immigration Department, Civil Defence Force, PVR force, National Disaster Managament Agency, and on-duty staff of National Registration Department stationed at Urban Transformation Centres only.
“The postal voting facility, however, is not automatically given to those in these categories. It applies only to those who are on duty during polling day. They must apply for it with their supervisors’ endorsement.
“Those who don’t apply are not qualified to become a postal voter,” he said, adding the actual number of postal voters would be only be known once applications have been received, and all applications would be vetted by EC.
On the suggestion for EC to count the advance votes on the same day after the votes had been cast, Hashim said the commission was of the view that it would be impractical because it could influence the voting trend on polling day.
“Early partial results may influence the sentiments of certain quarters, which can affect the voting trend. Even two days early before polling day may instigate matters including campaign misconducts and public safety.”