In a democratic country, general elections are the means for the citizens of a country to exercise their civic duty and rights to express their thoughts and opinions in determining who should be in charge of the country by casting their vote at the ballot box. You can’t tell the leaders personally how you feel? Let’s be honest, not everyone can dial the phone to speak to the leader(s) personally to express yourself, and not every leader got the time nor interests to listen to you. The good news is that you can still tell the leaders on how you feel by a simple means of casting your vote. If you like them, vote for them. If you don’t like them, vote the other party.
I have seen examples of some leaders telling the voters not to betray the government, and some came off as a little threatening. Let me reiterate that in a democratic country, no one, not even the ruler or the leader can tell you who you should vote or who you can’t vote. Your civic duty is towards your country, not to a certain political party. If, and I mean if, you feel a certain way about a political party in governing the country but fear to express yourself through the ballot box, that is betrayal to your country and your fellow people. If you are being punished for casting your valuable vote the other way, that is a serious violation of your human rights and your rights as a citizen to express your opinion.
In a democratic country, any political party should hold the equal rights to form the government providing that they win enough parliamentary seats through clean and fair election. In Malaysia, with a total of 222 parliamentary seats, that means winning 112 parliamentary seats is sufficient in forming a simple majority government. So your vote counts. Every vote counts. Every vote is extremely important in determining which political party has the rights, based on the people’s opinion, to form the government.
Of course, there are few groups of people that I come across everyday, and they are:
If you are eligible but did not register to vote
In Malaysia and many other countries, the eligible age to register as a voter is 21 because it is in view that the moment you turn 21, you are a full adult and your view and opinion counts. In this groups of people, some just can’t be bothered and some just wanted to enjoy life, party, finding extra income and etc.
If you are registered but did not vote
During the last general election, there were around 5 million registered voters who didn’t turn up to cast their vote. In a country with around 20 million voters, that amounts to around 25% of the voters who didn’t vote. This group of people might be saying something like “it has nothing to do with me,” or “I can’t be bothered,” or “my vote doesn’t amount to anything.” 25%! Your vote counts a lot and with your vote, with that extra 25% of the vote, one could overthrow the political party!
I’m not interested in politics and politics has nothing to do with me
I have known quite a few people with this kind of attitude towards politics and they are in view that politics is the playground for those elite group of people and they are not interested in partaking in politics.
I’m afraid to vote because they might know who I voted for
Some public servants who work for the government, like teachers, police force, and etc, might feel threatened on their job security if they vote freely. They feel that if the government finds out, they might lose their jobs and they will be blacklisted for life from government sector. Well, the good news is, with so many voters, will it be that easy to find out who voted for whom? How long does it take to find you amongst the 20 million voters?
To these group of people, the only thing I can say is this; I can’t disagree more.
Did you know that the prosperity of the country is depending on the incoming government on how they govern the country with sound financial sense?
Did you know that the education your children receive is depending on the incoming government on their emphasis on strong educational foundation and a detailed plan in raising a group of smart generation?
Did you know that your quality of life depends on the incoming government on how they improve the facilities and to protect the people’s interests?
Did you know that the future of your children is depending on the incoming government on their emphasis on sound long-term economy plan and global competitiveness?
Did you know that your job security, partially, is depending on the incoming government on how they govern the country to encourage prosperity and making the economy flourish?
So if you belong to the group of people I mentioned earlier, here is what I got to say to you;
- Don’t complaint if prices go up,
- Don’t complaint if you find it very difficult to cope with your cost of living and you are feeling a drastic financial burden,
- Don’t complaint if you find the education standard has dropped,
- Don’t complaint if your children need to go outstation or overseas to earn a living because locally, there’s not much prospect,
- Don’t complaint if you find that there’s no harmony in the society,
- Don’t complaint if you find that the public safety is at risk,
- Don’t complaint if you feel that there is much racial and social inequality.
The moment you don’t vote, or not vote according to your deepest and most honest opinion, you just gave up your voice and rights to express your opinion. You can shout and scream about your complaints, but the country gave you the best channel to express your complaints via the ballot box, but you don’t take up that golden opportunity, so you may now shut up and let those who casted their vote to continue expressing themselves.
If you are a registered voter, please come out and cast your vote. Let your voice be heard in the next general election.
If you are eligible to register as a voter, quickly do so so that your voice can be heard in the future.
Your vote counts. Every vote counts. Now go and tell your family and friends not to hide behind an imaginary safety net to come out and vote, and vote according to their hearts content. Let your voice be heard by those political elite, let them know how you actually feel.