Long queues upset Thai voters in Malaysia

Long queues upset Thai voters in Malaysia

A screenshot from a video shows a long queue of voters outside the Thai embassy in Kuala Lumpur on Saturday morning. (Photo from Thapanee Ietsrichai Facebook page)
A screenshot from a video shows a long queue of voters outside the Thai embassy in Kuala Lumpur on Saturday morning. (Photo from Thapanee Ietsrichai Facebook page)

Some 4,000 Thai voters in Malaysia have complained about long queues as only three polling booths are available at the embassy in Kuala Lumpur.

The queues to cast advance votes in the March 24 general election snake outside the embassy in Kuala Lumpur, forcing people to wait outside in the heat. A few people reportedly fainted.

The embassy originally set Saturday as voting day for Thais residing in Malaysia. A total of 5,183 people had registered to vote earlier.

After video clips showing long queues made the rounds on social media, the embassy agreed to extend voting into Sunday. However,  some people who had travelled more than four hours to Kuala Lumpur to vote appealed for the Election Commission to simply open more booths because they might not be able to come back to the capital on Sunday.

EC president Ittiporn Boonpracong said the embassy would allow voting to continue indefinitely on Saturday until all people who had showed up are able to cast their ballots.

The embassy had apologised for the inconvenience, he said, adding that polling booths would open again on Sunday from 8am.

“The embassy guaranteed that everyone who is willing to wait will be able to vote today [Saturday]. Those who can’t can come back tomorrow from 8am and pick up queueing tickets at the parking lot in front of the embassy,” he said.

Natt Laosisakul, the EC deputy secretary-general, said in Bangkok that the commission would make sure every registered voter in Malaysia could vote. “More reporting lines and polling booths have been added,” he said.  

All seven EC members were out of the country earlier this week, ostensibly to personally ensure advance voting went smoothly in places including Singapore, parts of the United States and Europe. Malaysia was not on their itinerary.  


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