M’sian minister says M’sian voters in S’pore won’t bother to vote

Malaysian Polling Day might make Causeway congestion even worse as voters head back home.

By Sulaiman Daud | January 28, 2018

Election season in Malaysia is heating up as Prime Minister Najib Razak and former PM Mahathir Mohamad will clash head-to-head.

In a Jan. 23 press conference, the Pakatan Harapan (PH) candidate made it clear that he was competing for every single vote.

Mahathir implored Malaysians to ignore the “Undi Rosak” or “spoilt vote” hashtag that has been circulating on Twitter.

He said:

“They know very well that if many people don’t turn out to vote, BN (Barisan Nasional) will win.”

Game changer?

In such a close election, victory may be determined by fine margins.

And the Malaysian community living in Singapore is a potential voting demographic that could tip the balance.

In 2013, James Gomez, a professor at Universiti Utara Malaysia, estimated that there could be as many as 500,000 eligible Malaysian voters living in Singapore by the time the next general election is called.

However, their potential impact was dismissed by Deputy Home Minister Nur Jazlan Mohamed, who said that he did not expect them to turn up in large numbers to vote.

He said at a Parent Teacher Association Meeting on Jan. 27:

“They tried this in 2008 and 2013 due to the Opposition’s propaganda but felt cheated as they could not change the government. I think they might not even bother to come back to vote.”

Jazlan also commented on the “spoilt vote” controversy, denying that it was spread by his party:

“All this never happened before. This is not a Barisan Nasional tactic.”

No postal votes

The head of Malaysia’s Election Commission, Mohd Hashim Abdullah, announced on Jan. 22 that Malaysians living overseas can vote by post:

They can apply to vote by post, but they must fulfil several criteria:

  • Registered as a voter.
  • Residing abroad.
  • Having been in Malaysia or returning to Malaysia no less than 30 days within five years before the dissolution of Parliament or the State Assembly.

However, Hashim added that voters living in certain countries are not allowed to vote by post, but instead had to physically return to Malaysia on polling day if they wanted to vote during the next general election.

These included voters in:

  • Southern Thailand (Narathiwat, Pattani, Yala, Songkhla and Satun)
  • Singapore
  • Brunei
  • Kalimantan Province in Indonesia

Bigger jam than usual

If Malaysians in Singapore want to vote on polling day but can’t do so by post, then there might be rush of voters trying to make it back across the Causeway to cast their vote in time.

It all depends on whether voters here agree with Jazlan’s gloomy assessment or want to prove him wrong.

You might want to postpone any trips to Malaysia you might have planned when polling day is announced.

Top image via Nur Jazlan Mohamed Facebook page

About Sulaiman Daud

Sulaiman believes that we can be heroes, if just for one day. His favourite Doctor is Peter Capaldi's Twelve. In his spare time he writes about film, pop-culture and international politics, which you are very welcome to read here.

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