Tuesday, August 9

Don’t Just Whine, Exercise Your Right to Vote

I woke up on the morning of the day when I turned 21, and then went straight to the post office to register as a voter. To me, the real birth of a citizen in a democratic country is to be able to register as a voter and to vote during elections.

And then I wonder, how many of Malaysia’s citizens are not registered as voters and care to vote during elections, while many of us vent our disappointment towards our leaders but are not willing to make any change through one single ballot paper that means everything to our future.

While there are people who lives in rural area, in places hard to access and can only be accessed through rivers, who are dying to register as voters and aspire to change their future, more than half of the population of in the urban areas don’t care to register as voter and do their part as citizen of the country.

Are we ignorant or are we just whiners?

Walk the talk, because you know that action speaks louder than words. There are two groups of people who is living in the country today, sadly. Those who are ignorant, and act like nothing happened because they can afford a living. Another group whine about everything, but they don’t do anything because there is no will to change.

Sadly, at the very core level, a fact that we have not yet realised that politics is the powerhouse for our living today. Decisions that we make today; to have nasi lemak or roti canai for breakfast, are political decisions. Funny, but true. It determines whether you are full for the day, or you might be hungry before lunch.

A political decision might sound big, but it is not that big. Rhetoric makes politics sound so fictional and idealistic, while politics is just everyday decisions, which involve a lot of people, which affect their lives and their future.

The fundamental part about political decisions is that they are the solutions to a problem. May it be flood management, illegal logging and even damaged roads, problems needs to be solved every day. As a citizen of a country, we need to start realising that we have the right to claim for a better living, and our problems need to be solved.

We talk the talk and then we walk the talk by channelling our frustrations to our authorities. This is when elections become the most important thing that shifts our frustrations into a better future.

Championing democracy through elections

The best thing about living in a democratic country is having elections. Elections may be flawed, and a lot of countries in the world have changed their electoral system over time, but the best thing that they provide is the ability to choose. The opportunity to a person to vote and voice their agreement or disagreement towards the current government.

We may talk about electoral fraud that causes election to be meaningless, but right now we have still failed to wake up ‘sleeping citizens’ about their right to vote. More youngsters reach 21 every year, and most of them don’t care to register as voters. There are even people in their 50s and 60s who haven’t registered as voters!

So the first thing about empowering and fixing the elections is making people realise about their right to vote and what they deserve after the vote. Promises come and go, but their decision is there to stay for five years. The people need to start realising that their votes counts and these votes are part of their future.

More people in the rural area needs to be reached and deserve voter education. These inaccessible places are not the reason for not giving what the people what they deserve, instead it is a responsibility to provide the people with adequate education on elections and how they work. After all, a government is from the people, for the people, to the people.

Source: Infographics designed by me for @InternKeadilan

Published on MalaysiaKini, 4 Aug 2016.

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