x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Indonesian embassy in drive to register citizens for elections

ABU DHABI // Indonesian expatriates have less than two weeks to register for their country's national elections next year. Abdi Satya Utama, the second secretary at the Indonesian embassy, said it was especially keen to register the thousands of Indonesians employed as maids and nannies. "The deadline of the registration is on Nov 20," said Mr Utama. "Housemaids are encouraged [to register] but it is difficult to reach them since they are inside their employers' homes."

There are an estimated 75,000 Indonesians in the UAE, of whom 30,000 are in Abu Dhabi, Al Ain and Ruwais, according to the Ministry of Interior. About 70 per cent of those are nannies and housemaids. The national election is being held on April 9. Indonesian citizens who are 17 on or before that date are eligible to vote. Married citizens aged under 17 are also granted voting rights. The embassy said it was using newspaper and radio advertisements, information sheets and text messages to warn of the deadline.

Volunteers are also distributing registration forms to Indonesian restaurants, community centres and offices. An Indonesian overseas election committee in charge of registration and voting has been set up in Abu Dhabi. The telephone numbers of the committee in Abu Dhabi are 050-7125836 and 050-7125837. Indonesian citizens can access the overseas election committee's website at www.ppln-abudhabi.org. .

Indonesians should fill out a registration form distributed by the committee. In Abu Dhabi, they can visit the embassy with their forms, fax them to 02-4455453, or e-mail a scanned copy of the registration form to sekretariat@ppln-abudhabi.org. Residents of Dubai and the northern Emirates can submit the forms at the consulate or fax them to 04-3980804. The national election commission in Jakarta will send the ballots to the diplomatic missions next year. Registered voters will be able to cast their ballots at the embassy and at the consulate. Voters could also send their ballots by mail.

rruiz@thenational.ae