The time has come for the EC to fulfil the task of helping Malaysians to exercise their right as voters rather than excluding some because of an archaic interpretation, writes Christopher Chong. Article 119 of the Federal Constitution gives the right to vote in elections to every Malaysian citizen who is 21 or above. The Article defines a voter as being either a resident of a constituency or an absent voter. A resident of a constituency simply means someone who lives in a constituency in which he or she has registered with the Election Commission (EC) to vote in.
An absent voter would be an individual who has registered as such with the EC to vote in a certain constituency, i.e. given the right to vote via post as he or she will not be physically able to vote in the constituency concerned on polling day.
But the Federal Constitution does not define who an absent voter is. This absence of definition was extended to the Elections Act 1958 but it did empower the EC to regulate all matters regarding voter registration and related matters. This includes prescribing facilities to be provided for voting by post and the persons entitled to vote by post. In short, the EC decides who can be given the right to vote by post as an absent voter.
Full Article: The Election Commission and absent voters « ALIRAN.