PETALING JAYA, Nov 25 — Bersih 2.0 today called on the government to give Malaysians living abroad the right to vote in the upcoming general election. “The government, instead of arguing why it cannot be done, has a duty to ensure that it is done,” Bersih 2.0 chairman Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan told reporters today at a press conference on overseas voting rights here. “It is their duty to enfranchise Malaysians, not to stop them from voting but to make sure that they can vote,” she added. The former president of the Bar Council also announced “Global Bersih”, a global movement of Malaysians abroad gathering in solidarity tomorrow “to demand their right to vote as overseas voters”.
“This is one of the eight demands of Bersih 2.0 in relation to postal voters,” Ambiga said, adding that 10 cities around the world have confirmed their participation. Speaking via Skype, London-based group MyOverseasVote said “it is a day of reflection rather than direct action. It is a day for us to think about the importance of our vote and the importance of getting people around the world interested again in charting the future of our country.” Another participating group, Perth-based Bersihkan Malaysia, questioned the government’s blatant discrimination against overseas Malaysians. “Can any government elected under such a system truly claim to be the choice of the majority? Is such a government truly representative of the people?” it asked.
“Please do not deny our very basic right to vote as a Malaysian citizen, whether we’re in Malaysia or overseas. That is our fundamental right, it cannot be denied by anyone,” it said. MCA president Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek had earlier spoken against overseas voting, saying it presented a “logistical nightmare” as considerable resources would have to be devoted to ensure its success. However, Ambiga stressed the government should change its mindset as overseas Malaysians are ready to help. “They are willing to do their part. They are prepared to volunteer to make sure that overseas voting can take place. Our overseas voters want to vote in the 13th general election,” she said. “And it is up to us, up to the government, to make sure that happens. We cannot disenfranchise any voters, anyone who has the right to vote.” ~themalaysianinsider.com~