Monday, April 27, 2015

Entitled to vote - persons detained in lock-up, detention without trial,detained yet not convicted/sentenced - not Anwar?

Do persons convicted and serving prison sentences qualify to vote? Well, the Federal Constitution says that persons serving sentence of imprisonment are disqualified.

Well, would Anwar Ibrahim have the right to vote? Well, he has been convicted and sentenced to imprisonment, and since all pending appeals have been exhausted - I am of the opinion that he is not entitled to vote.

What about people that are arrested and in police lock-ups? Well, they are mere suspects and have not been sentenced to imprisonment - so they should definitely have the right to vote if they are registered voters. Election Commission must make sure that they have the right to vote. 

When would people in lock-ups be allowed to cast their votes? Early voting or on the day when all other voters cast their ballots. Rightly, they should be voting on the same day as every other voter. Why? They maybe in police lock-ups today but they may be released today or the following logically, they should be casting their votes on the same day as the rest of us. Maybe, the votes are cast at police stations or the police should bring them to the relevant polling centres to cast their votes.

Likewise, persons who are currently being detained by reason of not being able to furnish bail, or in cases where bail has been denied. They have yet to be convicted and sentenced, and as such they have every right to cast their votes.

Article 119 Qualifications of electors.

...(3) A person is disqualified for being an elector in any election to the House of Representatives or the Legislative Assembly if -
(a) on the qualifying date he is detained as a person of unsound mind or is serving a sentence of imprisonment; or
(b) having before the qualifying date been convicted in any part of the Commonwealth of an offence and sentenced to death or imprisonment for a term exceeding twelve months, he remains liable on the qualifying date to suffer any punishment for that offence....
The possibly thousands of persons currently being detained without trial - well they are all eligible to vote except those who have '...detained as persons of unsound mind'. They are certainly not serving a sentence of imprisonment.

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