Why do I care? Why am I so political? What are the coming elections to you? These are the questions I get bombarded with on a daily basis from my peers.
Firstly, I would like to clear up the misconceptions of me being an agent of the opposition party because I believe in non-partisanship. Yes, I may be as seen leaning towards one side but I will explain why later. The questions I get asked the most is why do I care so much? What is it to me?
Despite being 21(I turned 21 last December), I cannot exercise my power to vote because even though I’m registered, I’ve passed the dateline and this really frustrates me. That being said, it’s never about me, but it’s about you. All of you who are reading this, especially my fellow 91-ers who are eligible to vote and are registered. You can make a difference.
Every day on our Facebook and twitter feeds we see an ongoing war between Barisan Nasional (BN) and Pakatan Rakyat (PR) supporters, the white and navy side especially taking the extra effort to hire cybertroopers to shoot down anyone who believes that this time there will be change – that this time, a shift in power is for the better. When it comes to freedom of expression, BN really took it up a notch by spraying defamatory and slanderous statements in the mainstream media, trying to bring down the opposition.
While all these are part and parcel of Malaysian politics, let’s take a step back and consider why they are so afraid of a change in power. It seems like they are trying their best to deprive the people of a CHOICE. The people are sick of corruption, where there was no real action taken against ministers who were involved in money laundering cases (with clear evidence), racist comments trying to incite hatred among religion and many more such incidents. “You help me, I help you?” ring a bell?
“Enough is enough.” This is what I hear when I talk to adults of sound mind.Throughout 55 years of BN’s reign, it is blind faith in their empty promises that led previous generations continue to let BN be in power. Now, admittedly, the rakyat are more politically matured and want to make the right choice. Look at Bersih and the number of participants that turned up.
The people were exercising their democratic right as citizens to peacefully assemble in a sea of yellow, demanding eight simple rights for a clean and fair electoral body in order to conduct clean and fair elections in the future. These people were greeted with tear gas and battered by the FRU instead. Whatever happened to freedom of expression? Do you want to be stripped of your right to express your views?
I’m not saying that PR is the best or will be a better choice. The truth is, I don’t know. We don’t know, but there’s a saying which goes, if you have to choose between two evils, choose the one you haven’t tried. Looking at the UK, the opposition actually does have a voice because their constituencies are set up in a way that is fairer to the opposition unlike here where, out of 222 seats in the Parliament, the opposition gets less than half of those seats. The constituencies are drawn in a way that BN gets the upper hand all the time. A level playing field in campaigning seems so far away.
That is how they stayed in power for 55 years! toad to the equation those who proudly don’t exercise their power to vote, how are we ever going to give the opposition a chance to show us what they have in store? Baseless allegations that PR will bring about the destruction of this country is utter rubbish because this is their country too. What logic is it that they want to come into power only to destroy? Destroy the many goons of white and navy yes, but not the destruction of the country. See how they spin words to convince the uninformed? Do you want to let this continue?
Back to the questions I asked at the start of this article: I care because this is my country. I was born here and I will die here no matter the circumstances. I’m sorry to have to say this, but if you think that migrating to another country the solution, then you are either delusional or downright selfish. Secondly, I am not politically inclined to any party. It might seem to you that I’m take sides but I am just stating the obvious flaws of the current government. Should PR screw up if they really do come in power, we can then vote for BN, in all hopes that they will change their attitude in governing a country.
Notice that I tackle the issues beforehand? That is how I stay non-partisan. You might say that I am contradicting myself but again, are these issues not related to the government of the day? If highlighting the flaws of the current government means being political, then so be it. The coming elections mean a lot to me because I care about the future of this country. If change is for the good then, God willing, let there be a change in governance.
On 5/5, exercise your right as a rakyat and vote. It does not matter which side you are on, so long as you take the effort to travel to your respective polling stations and draw an ‘X’, signifying you placing your beliefs in the MP/ADUN that you have chosen, hoping this country will be in good hands for the five years to come. Your role as a rakyat does not stop at the ballot box. You are also entitled to dialogues with your respective MPs and ADUNs or even write to them to track if they are doing their jobs well.
Our role as citizens does not end at the ballot box. Elections are just one part of it. The part that we are missing the most is how to ensure that these people we’ve elected to represent us will do their jobs accordingly and in line with what they promised. We, the rakyat must always have a voice.
I hope and pray for clean and fair elections and that there will be no bloodshed or disharmony to arise from the results of this coming election.