Overseas advance voting raises skepticism
12 October 2015 — For the first time, Burmese citizens legally residing in Malaysia will be allowed to cast advance vote for the upcoming November 8 general elections.
The move is seen as part of an attempt by the incumbent quasi-civilian goverment to portray the polls as being free and fair.
However, many people have expressed concerns about casting the advance votes, given the manipulation of advance votes in the last elections in 2010, which propelled the current administration to sweeping victory.
The embassy said that the early voting would take place between 8am and 4pm on 18 October, this Sunday.
The date, scheduled for Sunday, will be an obstacle to voting for Christian Burmese citizens as they will go to worship services. Meanwhile, people in Chin State raise similar concern over Sunday voting on 8 November.
Voters in Malaysia are required to present their identity card, either passport or National Registration Card, or a phocopy of one of the documents when coming to the poll.
“While this new initiative will serve to enfranchise many Burmese people living overseas, there are valid concerns about the manipulations of the votes in favor of the ruling party, based on the experience from the last elections,” said Salai Za Uk Ling, Program Director at the Chin Human Rights Organization (CHRO), which closely monitored the last polls.#