Singaporeans who are living abroad – from Canada to Australia – are fighting for their right to vote for the coming General Election (GE).
A letter has been submitted to the Elections Department (ELD) by a handful of overseas citizens on Thursday (25 June), calling for the authorities to “examine alternatives” that will allow them to participate in the upcoming election.
The letter has been signed by 100 (and counting) overseas citizens at the time of writing.
For this GE, National Development Minister Lawrence Wong announced in a virtual press conference yesterday evening that overseas Singaporeans can return home to cast their vote if they want, adding that there is no reason why they cannot do so.
This does not just pertain to citizens living in Malaysia, but also to all countries across the globe.
“I mean, so whether it’s in Malaysia, whether you’re in any other country, if you would like to vote, and you want to vote, then come back and vote,” said Mr Wong.
“There is no reason why you can’t come back and vote. You would have to be subjected to (14-day) Stay-Home Notice (SHN), but even under SHN, there can be arrangements made for you to vote,” added the Minister.
Only voters serving their SHN at designated facilities may get to vote at a special polling station. For those on SHN at home, the ELD is in discussion with the Ministry of Health (MOH) on whether it is safe for them to go to the polls.
Ultimately, there are questions on why this special mandate is being called in this GE, given that this contradicts the instructions published on the ELD’s website on 16 March which laid out the details on who, how, and where overseas citizens can vote.
“Any Singapore citizen residing overseas who satisfies the qualifying criteria may apply to the Elections Department to be registered as an overseas elector to cast his vote at one of the 10 overseas polling stations,” as stated on the website.
The 10 polling stations will be located in New York, Washington DC, San Francisco, London, Shanghai, Beijing, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Canberra, and Dubai.
The polling stations will be set up at Singapore High Commissions, Embassies, or Consulates in countries or cities where there is a significant number of Singaporeans.