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Number of Indonesian overseas voters declines

HONG KONG--Plans are underway to raise awareness among Indonesian citizens living overseas about voting in the elections this year as the number of overseas voters has declined, an official has said.

“The rate of voter participation from abroad has been very low,” said Freddy H. Tulung, director general for public information and communication at the Communications and Information Ministry.

Citing official data, he said only 23 percent of a total of 2.2 million Indonesian people living overseas cast their votes during the 2009 elections.

“Overall, Indonesian voter participation in both the legislative and presidential elections has shown a declining trend. In the latest election in 2009, only 71 percent of people with the right to vote cast their ballots,” said Freddy.

He was speaking in a dialogue to introduce the electoral process and voting procedures to Indonesian citizens in Hong Kong jointly held by the minister and the Indonesian Consulate General (KJRI) in Hong Kong at the Ammar Mosque in Wan Chai, Hong Kong, on Saturday.

Election Day will be held for Indonesian residents in Hong Kong on March 30, which falls on a Sunday, making them the first Indonesians to cast their ballots in the upcoming legislative election.

In previous elections, many Indonesians in Hong Kong — who are mostly female migrant workers — did not cast their votes for various reasons, according to Freddy.

“Some of them were not registered as voters, or didn't know the voting procedures. Some others thought that it would be better to go to work rather than going to polling stations,” he said.

Freddy said the ministry was working with the KJRI Hong Kong to raise voter awareness.

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