The Malaysian Spring.
Rally after rally in colours of multicoloured hues, a Malaysian Spring which some call the ‘Hibiscus Revolution’ has begun. Watershed upon watershed of consciousness-raising events, and ultimately here comes the 13th Malaysian General Election.
It is said that at times that you do not need to find the revolution, for the revolution will find you. The revolution found us and now, for the first time in the history of this nation, we are able to conduct overseas postal votes. And for the first time, we have a viable alternative to Malaysia politics based on ideology, and not race.
Everything looked fine from the nomination day onwards. Then the heart-stopping moment came when we had to plan to travel the length and bredth of the United Kingdom once we found out the date for registered postal voting.
Our round trip was completed 17 hours after the start of our journey, exhausted but proud to have casted our votes and to have seen so many Malaysians from all corners of the UK cast their votes too. When we arrived at the High Commission at Belgrave Square, London, we soon found out that there were ‘’nombor gilirans’’ being given out and that the numbers hadn’t been moving from 101-110 since the hour before we arrived. Ten people an hour? We were given numbers 317-319. Two hundred more to go. Surely not.
As the day grew darker, the wind was blowing mercilessly. One begins to wonder if we Malaysians are ready for a global positioning system. Are the opposition parties offering another set of rhetoric, or do they signify to a new world of hope and changes? Or is this the history-making moment we’ve all been waiting for? Nevertheless, one must marvel at the tremendous progress Malaysia has achieved. How lucky are we to witness the entire nation grow bold enough to experiment with radical change, a paradigm shift and the will to replace justice in Malaysia?
Some people came with their entourage of wife and children, some with their bright yellow T-shirts shouting for a clean election. When the crowd slowly swelled to 1,000, there was an overwhelming response from the Bersih crowd who were giving out handouts about the process to the first-time voters and doing exit polls. If we looked around us, it was as if the political tsunami had extended from Malaysia to London.
The whole process was organised, we were greeted by courteous staff with clear explanations, and most importantly, no smudges, crosses, or any sort of marks on the ballot paper. However, no indelible ink was used, and each name was matched with a serial number which was then printed on every envelope and ballot paper. I understand its role to prevent phantom voters and discrepancies, but it does mean the secrecy of our votes is under threat. Don’t get me wrong, I am all about transparency. This is just a thought to consider since we claim to be sick of crime, corruptions and falsehood.
Regardless of the four-hour wait in 13’C weather (forecasted by the BBC), the whole experience was satisfying, and I am extremely grateful for the sense of spirit and community.
A renewal of hope ahead for Malaysians? Nobody will truly know until 505. We are seeing the biggest momentum of change since 1990. So, let’s hope the outcome will not let us down. Thus, I urge all of you to seize this day. Come out and vote, Malaysians!
“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the colour of their skin, but by the content of their character.”
— Martin Luther King.