Sunday 2 September 2012

Register to vote

SEPT 2 — The deadline for registering to vote for the last quarter of the year is September 15, 2012. Elections must be held before April 28, 2013, after the five year mandate is up.

While 2008 was the year of the political tsunami, 2013 could well be the year of change. (For better or worse is another story)

The Opposition is confident of wresting Putrajaya from the ruling coalition through the people’s vote. However, there have been many concerns about the transparency and validity of the elections itself.

The large turnout at the BERSIH rally — founded with the objective of a clean and fair elections — shows that a substantial number of people believe the electoral machinery can be improved. Furthermore, numerous reports have emerged about phantom voters and “bought” votes.

The big question on many of the rakyat’s minds  now is whether the ruling coalition will sabotage any potential win by the Opposition through bogus votes, vote buying and vote coercion (as in the case of uniformed personnel who are made to vote the ruling coalition as reported by some online media).

There are also enough concerns about vote counts on Election Day that Tindak Malaysia is urging citizens to volunteer to be polling agents to ensure accurate vote counts. (

I whole heartedly support Tindak Malaysia’s move to involve citizens in ensuring a clean and fair election and call on all Malaysians keen to be a part of nation making to volunteer.

The fact that members of the Election Commission are members of a political party has also called the integrity of the commission into question.

All this leads to fears that the elections may be rigged.

However, the government is making efforts to ensure a clean and fair election to the best of their ability. They have introduced the use of indelible ink and shown they have listened to the concerns of the BERSIH movement.

Furthermore, while some may construe the handing out of cash assistance to the poor as blatant vote buying, it can’t be denied that it is part of a government’s duty to help the poor. It’s a fine line between vote buying and helping the poor.

In Malaysia, we have 27 million people of which  up to 15,683,808 (by Februaury 2012) are eligible to vote. That’s about half our population. Unfortunately, not everyone who is eligible has registered to vote.

I believe that despite all the accusations of vote tampering, it would be difficult to overturn the people’s will if large enough numbers turn out to vote (whoever it is they want to vote for).

Meanwhile the prime minister has painstakingly reached out to the public. Datuk Seri Najib Razak is one of the most popular political leaders on Twitter, garnering a large number of followers. He has tweeted constantly, speaking directly to the people and hearing their concerns.

He has made it clear that there will be transformational programmes in place according to the changes desired by the public. Obviously, the ruling coalition is trying very hard to win public approval as it does not have a mechanism in place to seal a win like how an authoritarian or dictatorial government would.

So while we may have doubts over the legitamacy of the elections, let’s be fair to the ruling coalition too.
It should be a fair fight — where the people emerge as the true winners by being able to have a say about what kind of government they want.

As such, it boils down to us, the rakyat, to step up to the plate. It is the responsibility of all Malaysians to register to vote and to eventually make your voices heard at the polling booth.

There is little point in complaining about a political party if one does not vote and decide who should govern. It makes more sense to vote than to sit at the mamak all day making demands.

Whether you trust the government is experienced enough to handle the needs of the nation or you want change and are willing to chance the country’s future with a new management team, is your perogative. But if you didn’t register to vote, and your political party loses, don’t cry injustice or unfair politicking.

Pos Malaysia handles voter registeration and is easily accessible in every state. All you need to do is bring your MyKad and yourself. This Merdeka, let all eligible voters be registered to vote!

No comments:

Post a Comment