Malaysia election: Enough time for postal voters, says Election Commission chairman Mohd Hashim

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Election Commission chairman Tan Sri Mohd Hashim Abdullah said postal votes, including overseas ballots, will reach the voters and return in time by polling day on May 9.

KUALA LUMPUR (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Postal votes, including overseas ballots, will reach voters and return in time by polling day on May 9, said Election Commission (EC) chairman Tan Sri Mohd Hashim Abdullah.

The chairman has assured the public that there is nothing to worry about regarding postal votes.

"I am aware of concerns that some postal voters have not received their ballots but let me assure you that there are no technical problems.

"I am confident that postal votes, including the overseas ballots, will return in time. We still have time so there is no need to worry," he told a press conference after visiting the Senior Officers Mess early voting centre in Bukit Aman on Saturday (May 5).

In fact, there are those in South Korea who have already received their postal votes and sent back to their respective returning officers, he said.

"We assigned Pos Malaysia (to handle postal votes) and I am sure they are up to the task," he said.

Postal voting is for the police, armed forces, employees of nine other government departments, members of the media, and Malaysians residing overseas (except in Singapore, southern Thailand, Brunei and Kalimantan).

On early voting, a total of 278,590 people are eligible to cast their votes for this general election.

"The early voters consist of 159,677 from the armed forces and 118,913 from the police, including retired police personnel.

Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Mohamad Fuzi Harun and his deputy Tan Sri Noor Rashid Ibrahim cast their ballots in Bukit Aman.

Others who did so included Mohamad Fuzi's predecessor Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar and former Commercial Crime Investigation Department director Datuk Seri Mortadza Nadzarene.

Asked whether officers such as Khalid should have changed their addresses after retirement, Mohd Hashim said it was not wrong for retired personnel to be early voters.

"He has the right to change his address but it does not mean you have to do so right after you retired," he said.

Asked on claims by Bersih 2.0 that they found 500,000 voters with the same address and two million others with no address, Mohd Hashim urged the election watchdog to pass the information to the EC.

On allegations that Barisan Nasional representatives in Sekinchan, Selangor, gave away RM25,000 cash as lucky draw prizes, Mohd Hashim said the matter came under the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission's jurisdiction.

At the early voting centre at SK Kementah here, EC deputy chairman Tan Sri Othman Mahmood said the ballot boxes would be kept in designated police stations under lock and key.

"The safety of the votes is ensured. All ballot boxes will be brought to the voting stations on May 9, starting from 4pm.

"All the ballot boxes that have been used will be kept safely. That is our promise," he said.

Armed Forces chief Jen Tan Sri Raja Mohamed Affandi Raja Mohamed Noor and Royal Malaysian Navy chief Admiral Tan Sri Ahmad Kamarulzaman Ahmad Badaruddin also cast their votes at the school.

Nationwide, early voting proceeded smoothly in all states and federal territories.

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