Friday, February 15, 2008

I won't be able to vote from France!

With the Prime Minister of Malaysia announcing the general election to be held on 8 March, I quickly went to check whether I'm eligible to vote from France. I have never voted in my life.

The first general election after I turned 21 was in 1999. Even though I was registered as a vote, I was not allowed to vote as the young people who registered at the same time as me were considered "too new" to the election list. In 2004, I was in the US and I certainly couldn't afford to fly to Washington to vote, so I didn't even bother to ask whether I was eligible.

This time, I thought I was eligible since I'm a registered voter since 1999 (they can't say I'm too new to the list now), and it is doable to go to Paris. Unfortunately, I learnt that I'm once again disqualified as a voter.

From the announcement of Embassy of Paris to Malaysians in France, only Malaysia civil servant and full time students and their spouses are eligible to vote in the embassy. I sent an email to the Embassy of Malaysia to see whether I'm considered as full time student since I'm not on student visa, just to learn that it is "too late" to register as a voter in a new location. Here is some highlight from the reply:

"For your information, civil servants and students who are interested to vote overseas need to re-register with the Suruhanjaya Pilihanraya (SPR) of their new location of work or study."

"However, the SPR would need a maximum of five (5) months to verify the status of the new voters who have re-registered. In this context, since the election date has been announced, you may not be able to vote as it is already too late."

"The only way possible for you to vote now is to return to Malaysia and exercise your right as a registered voter."

The announcement from the Embassy in Paris was made in 8 Feb 2008. Since it might that a maximum of 5 months to re-register as voter, most of the Malaysians in France Who have not re-register would certainly be excluded from voting. Is it the intention from the government, to discourage Malaysians oversea to vote?

Since I do not intend to take up the French citizenship, the only way I could vote for the rest of my life (if I continue to live in France) would be to return to Malaysia to execute my right. GREAT!

13 comments:

  1. Silly rules! Yes, it seems that they don't want overseas Malaysians to vote!

    Why bother?

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  2. I think there should be a flexibility in the rules. Somehow those who are staying abroad being treated like non-malaysians in a way.

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  3. May be they worry people living outside will vote for the opposition....hmmmm

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  4. Sigh! I heard about the overseas rules as well. But I am happy to see that you're one of those who are responsible enough to care to find out how to vote and such.

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  5. puteri,

    It kind of bothers me bcos I would like to vote but I'm denied the right.

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  6. Hi Bee Ean, yes, we cannot vote overseas if we are not students. That is a really strange rule of thought for any progressive nation. Armed forces, and state employees I can understand but students ? Why not foreign workers too, Lets make it ALL Malaysia citizens. It makes no sense except for a political one.

    UK citizens can opt for postal voting if they are going away on holiday during elections., or simply just opt for postal voting.

    Actually, even Commonwealth citizens can vote in general elections in the UK as I have often done.

    Living away from Malaysia doesn't make one less patriotic, and I can argue it is often the opposite. Circumstances, family, employment and other opportunities arise, (love and marriage in your case!) can happen to anyone.

    Vote for Change!

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  7. anothermalaysianinfrance11:06 AM

    I'm impressed with your political consciousness. Student or not (and I'm not) I honestly cannot be bothered with Malaysian politics.. never have been, never will be... I probably follow more French politics.. but I'm not eligible to vote here either!!

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  8. stupid isnt it? it's like we lose our right when we step outside the country... and civil servants can vote...

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  9. Anonymous10:18 AM

    I am currently in Athens, I just called the Consulate here in Athens and they ask me to call Malaysia Embassy in Berlin since I am the only one call to ask for the Election (I hope it is not my impression that Malaysian don't care about the Election). Embassy in Berlin told me the following, "only goverment servant and goverment sponsor students can vote when abroad" I replied "are you kidding me? that basically mean only Malay can vote from oversea. We all know that public job are majority taken up by Malay, we also know that goverment sponsor sutdent mostly refering to Malay student, are you telling me I can't execute my right?" she replied "I am a Malaysian Chinese as well, I also can't vote from here since they consider me as 'local employee'", I was totally speechless, I say my thanks and hung up. This is why BN always win, even so, folks don't give up your right!!!!

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  10. Oh I didn't know only government sponsor students can vote from overseas. Maybe we can write to the Star or Malaysiakini to ask for an explanation.

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  11. Anonymous9:43 PM

    The policy is such so as to disallow overseas Malaysians to vote as the chances of these votes going to the opposition are high. They allow embassy staffs and the military to vote from overseas because these are "their people".

    Only when there are huge numbers of bumis living overseas will they allow for voting remotely.

    A very clever and sinister plot.

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  12. pixen8:49 PM

    Ditto here... :-(

    I'd been several times to our embassy. It's the 'you want something, you wait' attitude that got under my skin. When asked questions, all must wait for directive from KL. Kind of 'sini lain, sana lain' situation which made me felt like not wanted yet I still paid tax and loyal to the country of my birth... :'-(

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  13. Wait till you have children. You won't be able to pass on your M'sian citizenship to your baby if you give birth outside of Malaysia, Brunei or Singapore on the grounds that you're a woman.

    This is why I'm very disappointed with our government. What's the point of being a citizen if you're not even accorded the very basic of rights ensured by the constitution?

    Mind you, I have written to The Star about citizenship and voting; both letters were published but so far, nothing has been done.

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