No need to fly: EC studying allowing Sabahans, Sarawakians to vote in Peninsula Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR: The Election Commission (EC) is studying the possibility of allowing young Sabahan and Sarawakian voters to cast their ballots in Peninsula Malaysia, says Datuk Seri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar.

“I had raised this matter with Dewan Rakyat Speaker (Tan Sri Azhar Azizan Harun) when he was the EC chairman on methods which could be taken such as electronic voting.

“This covers voters from Sarawak and Sabah who are here and those from the peninsula who are residing in the two states.

“The matter is still being studied by the EC,” the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department said when replying to a supplementary question raised by Dr Kelvin Yii Lee Wuen (PH-Bandar Kuching) in Dewan Rakyat on Monday (July 18).

Dr Yii said that there were many young Sarawakians and Sabahans who were studying in Kuala Lumpur, Selangor and Penang.

“Are there any proposals to amend the law to allow these young voters who are studying here in the peninsula to cast their ballots?” he asked.

On a separate matter, Wan Junaidi, who is in charge of Parliament and law, said the proposal to make politics part of the school syllables was also discussed by the EC.

He noted that at present such a proposal had yet to be implemented.

Datuk Seri Abdul Azeez Abdul Rahim (BN-Baling) suggested making politics a subject taught in schools to ensure political literacy among the young.

Abdul Aziz noted that the recent Johor state election was the first time young voters cast their ballots following the implementation of Undi18 in mid-December last year.

“Based on the EC, a total of 54.92% of eligible voters came out to vote, of which only five% were young first-time voters.

“This is a small number compared to the 173,000 eligible voters who were recorded during the Johor state polls,” he added.

Meanwhile, Wan Junaidi said that there were no plans to make voting compulsory as suggested by Ahmad Fadhli Shaari (PN-Pasir Mas).

The minister said that the matter had been raised with the EC on numerous occasions.

“Compulsory voting may be more readily implemented in the urban areas but may face challenges for those in the rural areas.

“The intention may be good but the concern is the negative impact it would have on society if implemented,” he added.

Nevertheless, Wan Junaidi said that the matter was still under consideration by the EC.