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EC insists cardboard cubicles OK

There were so many voters, and the Royal Thai Embassy in Kuala Lumpur had been so poorly prepared by the Election Commission, that embassy staff had to use embarrassing means to protect the secret ballot. (Photos FB/Muhammad-Sasu)

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The Election Commission (EC) has clarified that using cardboard boxes as improvised voters' cubicles in Malaysia is perfectly legal.

The clarification came after pictures circulated in the social media of cardboard boxes being put up as voters' cubicles at the Thai embassy in Kuala Lumpur, where the overseas vote was underway on Saturday and Sunday.

Netizens criticised authorities in charge of organising the vote, asking whether it was legal to use the boxes, which appeared not to meet the EC's cubicles' standards.

The embassy was apparently overwhelmed by voters.

It reportedly provided three standard cubicles for voters, each capable of handling 180 voters per hour after more than 4,000 people registered to vote in Kuala Lumpur.

The embassy brought in additional cubicles made of cardboard to accommodate more voters.

EC secretary-general Jarungvith Phumma said Sunday there was nothing legally wrong with deploying the cardboard boxes as long as the ballots were cast directly by the voters and in secret, as stipulated by the election law.

"The only bother is they may not look pretty," he said.

Lines of voters inside the Royal Thai Embassy in Kuala Lumpur (left) overflowed into the street outside the embassy.

Also Sunday, Panthongtae Shinawatra, the son of fugitive former premier Thaksin Shinawatra, urged the EC to look into a complaint raised by a Twitter user alleging that 500 early-vote ballots had gone missing in China.

The user also claimed someone else had taken their place on the list of voters.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs Sunday denied the report saying ballot cards had been sent to 581 out of 586 registered voters while the five others could not be reached as the given addresses were not clear.

Meanwhile, 1,126 eligible voters registered to vote at the Thai consulate in Shanghai on March 16.

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