KUALA LUMPUR: In Nottingham in the UK, Malaysian student Ana (not her real name) has just found out the ballot paper she needs to vote in nationwide polls is only arriving on May 9 - the day of the elections.
According to new guidelines, the Election Commission will post ballot papers to overseas voters, unless they live in Singapore or Southern Thailand. It is then up to them, however, to mail it back to their constituencies by 5pm on May 9, from wherever they are across the globe.
For Ana, that is now an impossible feat.
"Surely the Election Commission knew the ballot papers would not reach here and be posted back in time?" she tells Channel NewsAsia.
"I especially feel saddened as this would have been my first time voting in a general election."
Across the pond, in New Jersey, Charlene Wong-Podany is feeling the same frustrations as many others living abroad, from Germany to Australia.
"My ballot paper is arriving here on the end of the day on May 7, meaning May 8 morning, Malaysian time," she says.
"Short of chartering a private jet and flying off the moment DHL delivers my ballot papers, its impossible to get it back in time ... I tried to intercept my ballot papers (at the airport) ... so that I could still get on a plane to fly back to deliver it personally.
"Unfortunately, that is not possible."
As of April 2018, nearly 5,000 Malaysians had applied to vote from abroad via post, according to the EC - although electoral reform group Global Bersih puts the number of eligible voters residing overseas at more than 2 million people.
Overseas postal voting was first allowed in 2013. Back then, however, embassies were in charge of collecting the ballot papers and getting them home in time.
For the upcoming polls, the Election Commission chief, Mohd Hashim Abdullah, says it has given the mandate to Pos Malaysia and he is "confident that they are capable".
"God willing all the voters will receive their ballot papers in time," he told media on Saturday,
"Because I was informed that those in South Korea have received it and that was returned and there are those who've told the Election Commission panel that some in Australia have received it too."
More at https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/asia/overseas-malaysians-frustrated-at-late-ballot-papers-volunteers-10207060