Program 1 Dinar Emas, 1 Bulan

12 février 2013

10 Reasons Why We Must Vote in GE13

Thomas Fann

Without doubt, we are into the final lap of what must be the most hotly contested general election in our nation’s 56 years of history and one that many would consider to be a pivotal moment.

To many, the match is between the incumbent ruling coalition, the Barisan Nasional(BN) and the opposition coalition of Pakatan Rakyat(PR). To some the choice is between Najib and Anwar whilst to others it is between maintaining status quo or change.

But I want to put it to you that this election is not about BN or PR. Why? For usually in any contest, the winner is the one with the better skills, strategy, funds and luck even. But in an election, the winner or loser is decided not by the contending parties but by the audience or in this case the voters.

For in a democracy, we, the people more literally, have the power to decide who wins or loses, who to serve us as our government and who to serve us as the opposition for the next 5 years. This election is really about us, the voters, being able to exercise our democratic right to vote in a free and fair election.

More than ever before, if we are registered voters, we must vote in the upcoming 13th General Election. If you are still undecided or unconvinced if you should vote, let me offer you 10 reasons why you MUST vote in this election.
IT IS OUR RIGHT – Under Article 119 of the Federal Constitution, if we are a Malaysian citizen above the age of 21 and have not been convicted of any crime or are of unsound mind, we have the right to one vote in the constituency where we reside. But currently if you want to exercise that right, you must be registered as a voter with the Election Commission.

IT IS OUR DUTY AS A CITIZEN – Going beyond our right, it is also our duty as a responsible citizen to vote. Choosing not to vote is like a family member who chooses not to take out the trash in the house but then complained about the stench, or who chose not to participate in the decision-making process of repainting the family house but gripes about the colour chosen.We lose our right to complain about the state of affairs in this country when we choose not to vote when we can.  Hazen Pingree who was Detroit’s mayor in the late 19th century said, “Voter apathy was, and will remain the greatest threat to democracy.”

IT IS STRENGTHENING OUR DEMOCRACY – We are not a true democracy until the majority of eligible voters vote. Some would say that Malaysia has a healthy and vibrant democracy as in the last general election we had a 75 percent voters turnout.But because we have a electoral system where you have to first register as a voter before you can vote, the actual number of eligible voters casting their votes is only around 53 percent, if you include eligible voters who did not register and those who registered but did not vote. If you take voters turnout against the total population of 28 million in 2008, it is only 28 percent of citizens whose votes decided who governs all of us.

We can definitely improve on this number by making sure we register ourselves and then turn up to vote on polling day. Power to the Rakyat!

IT IS WHERE EVERYONE IS TRULY EQUAL – It doesn’t matter if you are the Prime Minister or a labourer, rich or poor, young or old, male or female, as long as you are a Malaysian above 21 with no criminal record and are of sound mind, you have one vote each. That is the beauty of democracy, everyone is truly equal at the ballot box.In this way, in a functioning democracy, this system ensures that the rights of the masses are protected and the rich and powerful cannot exploit the system to their advantage. If we don’t realise this fact and allow the rich and powerful to buy our votes or to bully us into voting for them, then we don’t have a democracy.

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