Malaysians living abroad will be allowed to vote in the next general election if they have been back in the country over the last five years after the date that Parliament was last dissolved.
Election Commission chair Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof said this would be the additional requirement, besides being registered voters and having applied to be a postal voter.
“We are studying the matter and if it requires changes in the law, it will be brought to Parliament in the coming session,” he said at a media briefing yesterday.
At present, only students and civil servants and their spouses are allowed to be postal voters.
Aziz said such a requirement had been implemented in Singapore, Australia and the United Kingdom.
“Some countries stipulate that their citizens must at least return every three years.
“From our discussions, we think a five-year period is reasonable.”
Based on records, only 2,700 of the some 20,000 Malaysians staying abroad had registered with Malaysian embassies in the respective countries to be postal voters.
The embassies are in Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia Herzegovina, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Canada, China, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, India, Ireland, Italy, Kuwait, Mexico, Morocco, Nepal, New Zealand, North Korea, South Korea, Poland, Romania, Singapore, Sweden, Switzerland, Syria, Taiwan, the United Kingdom, the United States and Venezuela.
Aziz said since last year, EC had appointed Wisma Putra officers as assistant registrars to help Malaysians overseas to register.
He also said they could go to EC’s website and download the voter registration form and sign up to become voters.