Malaysia election: Postal voters seek help from others flying home to get ballot papers back in time

A Malaysian Royal Army officer casting his ballot during early voting ahead of the 14th general election in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on May 5, 2018. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

BEIJING (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - As Malaysia's May 9 polling day draws near, postal voters are looking for alternative ways to send their ballot papers back to Malaysia, instead of the normal mail and courier services.

Over the past 72 hours, Malaysians in Beijing who have not received their ballot papers have started contacting their fellow citizens who have booked their flights to return home and vote.

They are asking them for help to bring home the papers and deliver them to the respective constituencies or Election Commission (EC) offices by hand.

Courier mails from Beijing to Kuala Lumpur usually take between two and five days or longer to reach the outskirt areas or Sabah and Sarawak.

"We hope that every vote counts," said Nursyamimi Azmi, a student from Beijing Language and Culture University. "People are sharing information on who is going back and when."

Nursyamimi, 23, together with her classmates Nor Shafikah Md Nawi and Norfarahin Md Sidek, collected their couriered mail at the Malaysian embassy in Beijing last Saturday (May 5).

They had their ballot papers sent to the embassy to make sure the documents were not delayed or mixed up with other mails.

Nor Shafikah said she was excited to fulfil her responsibility as a citizen.

She, however, said the EC should have sent out the ballot papers much earlier.

"Many of us here have not received the ballot papers according to feedback from our students' chat group," she said.

Postal ballot papers started arriving last Wednesday after a three-day Labour Day break in China.

But as of Sunday, many voters, had yet to receive them.

Environmental consultant Jon Lim, 42, said he received a message from a courier company informing him that his document was picked up from the Malaysian capital at 6pm on Friday.

"I am expecting to get it only on Tuesday because weekends are not working days for courier services and Customs clearance.

"It is simply impossible to send it back on time. "The EC needs to be mindful of this and give postal voters adequate time," he said.

All the postal ballots must arrive by 5pm on Wednesday, the day of the election, at the respective constituencies.

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