Thailand Ge: Over 4,000 Thais In Malaysia To Cast Their Ballots In Advance Voting
By Rosmalis Anuar
KUALA LUMPUR, May 3 (Bernama) -- Some 4,656 registered Thai voters residing in Malaysia are expected to cast their ballots in advance voting meant for overseas voters ahead of their country’s May 14 General Election.
The Royal Thai Embassy in Kuala Lumpur and Consulates-General in Penang and Kota Bharu have scheduled the voting period for seven days starting April 28 until tomorrow, to enable Thai nationals to exercise their right to vote at designated locations in Kuala Lumpur, Penang, Kota Bharu, Sarawak or Johor.
Thai Ambassador to Malaysia Lada Phumas told Bernama that of the total, 3,668 voters registered their rights with the Royal Thai Embassy, 2,992 of whom will cast their votes at the polling booth at the embassy, starting today until tomorrow from 9 am to 6 pm. It is among the top 10 Thai foreign missions with the highest number of registered Thai voters.
"Up to 1.30 pm today, the turnout is already at 17 per cent or about 500 voters... although it is a working day but the turnout is already good for us.
"Tomorrow is Wesak Day, a national holiday in Malaysia, so we expect more to come and we would love to have 100 per cent turnout if possible," she said when met at the embassy today.
For the Royal Thai Consulate-General in Penang, the ambassador said polling was held on April 29-30, with 592 Thai nationals or 86 per cent of the total 688 registered voters having exercised their rights to vote.
Meanwhile, polling at the Royal Thai Consulate-General in Kota Bharu was held on April 30, with 241 (80.3 per cent) voted out of 300 registered voters.
She added, two mobile units were also mobilised for voters in Kuching, Sarawak on April 28 and Johor Bahru on May 1, resulting in 100 per cent and 50.5 per cent turnout, respectively.
"We encourage those who registered, even with the mobile unit system, if they haven't voted, they can come to the embassy today and tomorrow," she said.
Lada said the embassy has scheduled to send the ballots and relevant documents to Thailand on May 7, before the deadline set by the Election Commission of Thailand on May 12.
She noted that there are approximately 100,000 Thai nationals residing in Malaysia and some of them might return home to cast their votes, especially those living near the Malaysia-Thai border.
Meanwhile, voters met by Bernama expressed their excitement to exercise their right especially for a first-time voter Sirin Choomanee, 22, from Songkhla.
"I hope the prime minister that will be elected through this election can develop my country," said the student at Universiti Malaya in Kuala Lumpur.
Arfan Sama Arlee, 34, who has been living here for six years, commended the embassy for improving the voting process as he took only five minutes to cast his vote.
"Compared to the last election (in 2019), this time it is very well organised by the embassy," he said adding that he is excited to exercise his power to choose the government.
Meanwhile, Murni Hawae, 29, said she voted with the hope to see a better Thailand in the future.
"I describe this election as our right to choose representatives of the country and also for Pattani, my place," said the second-time voter who has been living in Malaysia for more than ten years.