Laksanakan undi tidak hadir untuk pemilih Sarawak yang menetap di semenanjung dan Sabah (Malay/English)

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[ENGLISH VERSION BELOW] Kami, organisasi masyarakat madani seperti yang tertera di bawah, mengalu-alukan keputusan Suruhanjaya Pilihan Raya (SPR) membenarkan semua rakyat Sarawak yang berada di luar negara untuk mengundi secara pos dalam pilihan raya negeri yang akan datang tanpa meminggirkan mereka yang menetap di negara jiran seperti Singapura, Brunei, Kalimantan dan selatan Thailand.

Bersih Sarawak menganggarkan lebih sejuta rakyat Malaysia yang bekerja dan menetap di Singapura sekarang dan ramai adalah dari Sabah dan Sarawak.

Malangnya, SPR masih menolak untuk memanjangkan sebarang bentuk undi jarak jauh untuk pengundi rakyat Sarawak yang menetap di semenanjung Malaysia dan Sabah. Kami menganggarkan terdapat 250,000 rakyat Sarawak yang bekerja dan menetap di semenanjung Malaysia. Angka ini meningkat jika kita memasukkan Sabah.

Selain daripada halangan kos tiket kapalterbang dan pengangkutan darat untuk kembali pulang ke pekan dan kampung mereka, rakyat Sarawak di Sabah dan semenanjung Malaysia perlu memohon cuti kerja dan risiko jangkitan Covid apabila bergerak melalui lapangan terbang yang sesak, dan ada yang menyewa kenderaan 4×4.

Baru-baru ini, Bersih Sarawak menjalankan tinjauan pendapat yang mengesahkan terdapat majoriti orang Sarawak ingin mempunyai hak untuk mengundi dalam pilihan raya Sarawak tetapi dari tempat mereka menetap di semenanjung dan Sabah.

Lebih dari 250 responden menyertai undian itu dan 89% memberi jawapan ya kepada soalan yang berikut: “Jika diberi peluang, adakah anda akan mengundi dalam PRN Sarawak dengan Undi Awal/Undi Pos dari negeri/bandar anda?”

Dengan keengganan membuat sebarang peruntukan bagi kumpulan pengundi untuk mengundi dari negeri yang mereka tinggal, SPR telah gagal untuk memenuhi kewajipan utama mereka sebagai badan pengurusan pilihan raya iaitu memastikan tahap peryertaan pengundi dalam pilihan raya yang boleh dipercayai.

Ini seterusnya akan menjejaskan keabsahan keseluruhan keputusan undi, perwakilan Dewan Undangan Negeri Sarawak dan kesahihan kerajaan negeri yang akan dipilih

Bersih pada masa yang lepas telah membuat cadangan dan syor kepada SPR untuk kategori pengundi ini. Mereka boleh memberikan hak untuk mengundi secara pos dimana mudah untuk dicapai dengan mengeluarkan satu gazette dibawah peraturan-peraturan undi pos.

Secara alternatif, dan lebih selamat, mereka boleh diberikan hak mengundi dengan cara mengundi di pusat khas undian awal, sekurang-kurangnya satu pusat di bandar utama setiap negeri. Mereka perlu mendaftarkan diri dan memohon supaya dimasuki kedalam daftar pemilih khas itu; menghadirkan diri pada hari pengundian awal dan undi secara peribadi. Undian mereka kemudian akan dikira berdasarkan kawasan pilihan raya mereka di Sarawak.

READ MORE:  SPR perlu ambil langkah proaktif untuk pilihan raya selamat

Slogan baru kerajaan persekutuan “keluarga Malaysia” hanya akan menjadi retorik semata-mata jika pengundi Sarawak yang menetap di luar dipinggirkan kerana mereka tidak boleh pulang ke Sarawak dan mempengaruhi masa depan politik Sarawak.

Oleh itu, kami menggesa SPR untuk membenarkan status undi tidak hadir (jarak jauh) untuk rakyat Sarawak yang menetap di semenanjung atau Sabah dan membenarkan mereka untuk mengundi awal sebelum hari pengundian.

Kami turut meminta SPR untuk mengelakkan dari larangan penuh (total ban) kempen fizikal seperti yang berlaku di Melaka. Sebaliknya, SPR perlu berkerjasama dengan Kementerian Kesihatan untuk mengeluarkan prosedur operasi standard pilihan raya yang jelas kepada parti dan calon untuk menjalankan kempen dengan selamat seperti yang terkandung dalam Fasa 4 pelan pemulihan negara.

Pilihan raya bukan sekadar membuang undi. Sangat penting untuk calon mencapai pengundi untuk menjelaskan manifesto dan polisi supaya pengundi dapat dan berupaya melakukan pilihan yang termaklum (informed choice).

Terbeban dengan perkara ini, pilihan raya negeri yang akan datang telah dijadualkan untuk dilakukan sebelum hujung tahun ini. Pembatalan awal darurat negeri Sarawak secara mengejut lapan minggu sebelum pelaksanaan Undi 18 dan pendaftaran pengundi automatik bermaksud terdapat lebih kurang 666,000 rakyat Sarawak tidak mempunyai peluang untuk mengundi.

Oleh itu, SPR perlu melakukan lebih baik daripada prestasi mereka pada masa ini. Sekadar melepaskan kuasa dan tanggungjawab perlembagaan mereka untuk menyelia dan menguruskan pilihan raya kepada Kementerian Kesihatan adalah cara yang tidak boleh diterima sama sekali.

Disokong dan disahkan oleh:

  • Persatuan Pemangkin Daya Masyarakat (Rose)
  • Bersih Sarawak
  • Persatuan Pemangkin Kesedaran Sosial (Pemangkin)
  • Terabai Kenyalang Heritage Association of Sarawak (TKHAS)
  • Save Rivers
  • Keep Green Movement (KGM) – People. Associate. Development. Education for Penan Sarawak (Pade)
  • Lawyer Kamek for Change (LK4C)
  • Purplelily Social Association Kuching (Purplelily)
  • Persatuan Anak Istimewa Sarawak (Perais)
  • Dayak Think Tank Association Sarawak (DTTAS)
  • Undi Sarawak
  • Sadia Rimbas
  • Sadia Rejang
  • Persatuan Dayak Sarawak (Pedas)
  • Sarawak Association for People’s Aspirations (Sapa)
  • Sabah Sarawak Rights Australia New Zealand (SSRANZ)
  • Ikram Sarawak
  • Abim Sarawak

English version

Implement absentee voting for Sarawakians residing in semenanjung and Sabah

We, the undersigned civil society organisations, welcome the Election Commission’s decision to allow all overseas Sarawakians the right to vote by post in the upcoming state elections without excluding those who reside in the neighbouring regions of Singapore, Brunei, Kalimantan and south Thailand.

Bersih Sarawak estimates that there are over one million Malaysians living and working in Singapore right now, out of which quite a number would be from Sabah and Sarawak.

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Regretfully and most mystifyingly, the Election Commission has refused to extend any form of absentee voting to the many Sarawakians voters currently residing in the Malaysian peninsula and Sabah. We estimate that there are about 250,000 Sarawakians who live and work in the peninsula. This number rises when we include [Sarawakians in] Sabah.

Apart from the prohibitive costs of air fares and land transport to return to vote in their home towns and villages, Sarawakians in Sabah and the peninsula have to apply for leave from work and risk falling ill due to Covid infections while travelling through crowded airports, planes and hired seats in 4×4 private cars.

A recent online straw poll by Bersih Sarawak confirmed that a large majority of Sarawakians are desirous of being given the right to vote in the forthcoming Sarawak state election but from their place of work and domicile in the peninsula or Sabah.

Over 250 respondents participated in the poll and 89% of them answered yes to the following question: “If given the opportunity, do you want to be able to vote for PRN Sarawak by way of Advance Voting/Postal Voting from your state or town?”

By refusing to make any provision for this group of voters to vote from the state they are living in, the Election Commission has failed to fulfil one of its primary obligations as an election management body which is to ensure credible levels of voter participation in an election.

This will in turn undermine the authority of the election results, the representativeness of the Sarawak State Legislative Assembly and the legitimacy of the next elected state government.

Bersih has in the past made our proposals and demands known to the Election Commission with respect to this category of voters. They can be given the right to vote by post which is easier to achieve by way of a simple gazette pursuant to one of the provisions in the postal voting regulations.

Alternatively, and perhaps more securely, they can be given the right to vote by way of voting in advance at special polling centres set up in at least one major town in each state. They will need to register themselves and apply to be on that special electoral roll; turn up on advance polling day and vote in person. Their vote will then be counted towards their respective registered constituencies in Sarawak.

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The federal government’s new slogan “keluarga Malaysia” will amount to pure rhetoric if Sarawakian voters outside the state are deliberately disenfranchised simply because they are unable to return to Sarawak to vote and influence the political future of our state.

Hence, we call upon the Election Commission to grant absentee voter status to Sarawakians living in the peninsula or Sabah and allow them to vote in advance before polling day.

We also urge the Election Commission to avoid a total ban on physical campaigning as what happened in Malacca. Instead, the Election Commission needs to work closely with the Ministry of Health (MoH) to come out with clear election standard operating procedures for parties and candidates to campaign safely in compliance with Phase 4 of the national recovery plan’s guidelines.

Elections are not just about casting votes on polling day. Equally important, candidates need to be able to reach out to voters to explain their manifestos and policy positions so that voters are able to make informed choices.

Compounding matters, the coming Sarawak state election has disturbingly been scheduled to take place before the end of the year. The surprise lifting of the state of emergency for Sarawak just eight weeks before the implementation of Undi 18 [the lowering of the minimum voting age from 21 to 18] and automatic voter registration means that about 666,000 Sarawakians have deliberately been disenfranchised.

The Election Commission thus needs to do much better than how it is presently performing. Simply abdicating its constitutional authority and responsibilities to oversee and manage elections to the MoH is not acceptable.

Endorsed by:

  • Persatuan Pemangkin Daya Masyarakat (Rose)
  • Bersih Sarawak
  • Persatuan Pemangkin Kesedaran Sosial (Pemangkin)
  • Terabai Kenyalang Heritage Association of Sarawak (TKHAS)
  • Save Rivers
  • Keep Green Movement (KGM) – People. Associate. Development. Education for Penan Sarawak (Pade)
  • Lawyer Kamek for Change (LK4C)
  • Purplelily Social Association Kuching (Purplelily)
  • Persatuan Anak Istimewa Sarawak (Perais)
  • Dayak Think Tank Association Sarawak (DTTAS)
  • Undi Sarawak
  • Sadia Rimbas
  • Sadia Rejang
  • Persatuan Dayak Sarawak (Pedas)
  • Sarawak Association for People’s Aspirations (Sapa)
  • Sabah Sarawak Rights Australia New Zealand (SSRANZ)
  • Ikram Sarawak
  • Abim Sarawak
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