Monday, November 26, 2012


Whatever one’s personal inclination or as the case maybe non-inclination politically it cannot be denied that politics permeates almost all aspects of daily life. From the taxes we pay to our educational policies, from the price of food to the price of oil, our financial well being, healthcare and even security and safety, all these factors are directly decided by politicians through the policies they set and its implementation. 

That being said it’s alarming that almost 25% of eligible voters in Malaysia have not registered as voters in our country. In a nutshell about 16 million citizens are eligible to vote but only 12 million are registered. This number is alarmingly high especially when we consider the importance of doing ones responsibility as a citizen and the dramatic impact election results could have for a country. One man one vote will lose its strength if many eligible citizens don’t take their role seriously. If we are not careful eventually the will of the minority could shape the future of a majority.

In the democratic process elections remain the barometer to decide the wishes of the people; it’s the proverbial litmus test that will determine the future of a nation and which leaders the people feel have the experience and character to ensure the future of a nation. It’s not only a right and a privilege but also a duty, in fact in some Scandinavian countries it’s even legally mandatory to exercise the right to vote and criminal charges brought against those who do not. All over the world countries have fought wars and lost lives in the pursuit of this democratic principle to choose their leaders, the Arab spring is a testament to this phenomenon that demonstrates the extent citizens will sacrifice to have the right to choose their leaders and have a say in the direction a nation is to take.

Malaysia has a proud democratic tradition. Since 1957 the elections have been largely fair, just and independent. Many will be surprised to note that even African Americans who have been in the United States for hundreds of years only got their full unhindered suffrage in 1965 while multi racial Malaysia granted voting rights to all its citizens since independence. Even the critics of the process have to agree that the ruling coalition losing 2/3 in majority and 5 states in the 2008 general election cannot be the product of an unfair and bias electoral process. Besides that the opposition also won the first eight by elections in Malaysia which shows the vibrancy of the democratic spirit in the country.

Being part of the bipartisan Parliamentary Select Committee for electoral reform I also know the commitment of the government to increase transparency and the aspiration of the government to meet the expectations of the people in regard to electoral reform. But all these reforms are not enough to ensure the success of a democracy unless the people play their part. One crucial role they have to fulfill is to exercise their right to vote by registering as voters and using that right responsibly to chart the future of the country. I urge all unregistered voters to please step up to the plate and do their duty to country and nation by taking a little effort and time to register themselves and vote in the upcoming elections. 

Though I have no idea when it will be held yet even those who register tomorrow will be able to vote if the elections are held 3 months from the day they register. Elections are the platform of the people to decide who governs the nation for the next 5 years and those who don’t use their rights would have failed the future generations of Malaysian. Do your children proud and register as a voter today.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Ini 1Malaysia kah? Saya ingat tidak Melayu, India, China, tetapi 1Malaysia

Ketua Wanita Umno Malaysia Datuk Seri Shahrizat Jalil menegaskan Umno berdepan dengan cabaran getir untuk menjaga kuasa Melayu yang dianggapnya "bagai telur di hujung tanduk" selepas pilihan raya umum 2008.

Tegas bekas menteri kabinet itu, jika parti itu tidak bertindak mulai sekarang, kuasa Melayu "akan semakin terpinggir" kemudiannya.

"Bayangkan sahaja sekarang ini kuasa politik Melayu di Parlimen adalah amat marginal sekali. Keadaan ini perlu kita tangani dari sekarang jika kita tidak mahu menjadi pelarian di bumi sendiri.

"Pepecahan undi Melayu akan melunturkan kuasa politik Melayu yang sedia ada. Pada hari ini kuasa ekonomi bukan ditangan orang Melayu. Adakah kita sanggup hilang kuasa politik juga?" katanya.