Let’s leave partisanship aside.
There are several types not voting this election.
Those who did not register, probably the ones receiving the least amount of sympathy.
In the opposite end are long term registered voters who can’t be in their locality on voting day. I know a few, and I feel for them.
Between them are overseas voters who did register as postal voters or far from a voting station, and those who registered in the last six months and find themselves not in the electoral roll.
In a country like ours, missing a vote can mean not having a say about your country for ten years.
My own memories are of my parents.
In 1986, my late dad and mom headed to the polling stations. My mom had just been granted the blue IC and my dad transferred voting from Titiwangsa to Hulu Langat.
It is a powerful experience, at least for me, to see both of them walking over to the voting station, a hundred fifty metres from the house. That’s where it ended.
They did not have both their names in the electoral roll.
My dad won’t countenance voting anyone but BN. As a government driver, a former serviceman and former bodybuilder, every sinew in him was for the way things were. Malaysia is a land of hope and betterment. I understood it better decades later standing at the front of his family home in Tamil Nadu.
He’d ask my mom to vote BN. My mom would be happy to oblige.
The parliamentary seat, and state seat of Dusun Tua, were both massively safe BN seats. MCA’s deputy president Lee Kim Sai to Dewan Rakyat, and Mohamed Azmir Mohamed Nazir (It’s a big name in the interior of the constituency) to the state house.
My late parents would have added two votes each for both of them even if it would have been academic.
History would not have changed, but the lives of those denied the vote will have been changed.
Seeing my father, I sensed his disappointed of being robbed his birthright. It’s not just killing a piece democracy, it is about reducing the value of people.
I suppose politicians can’t see it that way, it can only be a means to power.
And i agree, it is a means to power, but power to people as much as to the people they elect.
So while we implore people to participate, I send a shout out to the Election Commission and its officers, to remind them how much a difference they can make not only to the country but equally to those who are empowered by the voting process.
And why they must endeavour, just like the rest of us, to ensure all of us who want to get all the help possible to be allowed to vote.
It gives pride to people. It helps us explore our nationality and our relationship with the country. How can we deny Malaysians that?