Voters Living Abroad

Under the election laws, only four categories of Malaysian citizens living aboard are allowed to cast their votes as “Absent voters”, and defined in general terms as “registered voters living outside Malaysia”, which includes the military personnel, public servants, full time students and their spouses, who may cast their votes in the high commission or consulates in the countries they live in.

In the 2018 general election, voters living abroad (except for Singapore, Kalimantan, southern provinces of Thailand and Brunei) are allowed to register as postal voters. The ballots were mailed by the EC directly to the voters at their overseas address. After marking the ballots, the voters have to return the ballots in envelopes to the Returning Officer in their respective constituency by any means before the poll close on the polling day.

However, the postal voting received heavy criticism as the campaign period during the 2018 general election was 11 days and there was no enough time for the voters living abroad to return their ballots to the country on time.


Dr. Hiew King Cheu, Oversea Malaysian Citizens to vote as “absent-voter”, February 14, 2011,

Andrew Yong, Overseas Malaysians denied voting rights, New Mandala, November 25, 2010,

Resources :

PDF : Overseas Voter Mobilisation in Singapore: Implications from Malaysia’s 13th General Election (Journal of Current Southeast Asian Affairs: 2013)
Link : Overseas Malaysians get postal voting rights in time for elections (ABC: Jan 23, 2013)
Link : My Overseas Vote -Information website for overseas voters (Last updated: May 2, 2013)
Link : (Some) overseas Malaysians vote (New Mandala: Apr 30, 2013)
Link : Overseas Malaysians denied voting rights (New Mandala: Nov 25, 2010)
Link : MyOverseasVote and Global Bersih Call on Overseas Malaysians to Vote in the 13th General Election, and Press the EC to Allow Postal Voting Observers (My Overseas Vote: Jan 28, 2013)

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