It is About Sharing

Knowledge is for sharing. Do not keep your knowledge to yourself alone. Let it grows. The more you share, the more you learn and in the end you become a better person.

Surah Yaasin Amazing Recitation



Monday, March 3, 2008

Reasons and impact of not voting

During every election, be it general or by-election, most of the times, if not every time, we can see less than 100% voters’ turnout to cast their votes. Have we ever wondered why? Well, at least for sure I know one of the reasons, i.e. those people who have this in their mind-what difference do I make with my one vote? This is because I was one of those. I had that in mind way back in 1999 (well, I was 23 then).

Coming this 12th general election, a lot of efforts have been made by the parties contesting in the election to ensure that people go out to cast their votes (with the hope that people will vote their party). There are advertisements in electronic media as well as the public places like the LRT stations to encourage people to cast their votes, providing buses for the people to go back to their hometown to cast their votes, paying petrol and toll money for the same reason (I do not know how far this is true but I was told it happen), etc, etc.

For the last few weeks, I have had conversation with few people about election, which some of them told me that they are not going to exercise their once-in-four-year right to determine the next government to run the country. There are various reasons for that.

One of my friends told me that he is not going back to his hometown to vote, as it is not worth the expenses to be incurred i.e. toll and petrol unless any party is willing to give him money. Upfront, I would say that this is not a healthy practice but do I totally blame my friend? Partly yes, partly no. Assuming that what I was told (about giving money for toll and petrol) is true, then it is the parties) that providing such “services” is to be faulted. Casting vote should be made voluntary and sincere. However, once we make an offer of giving money for people to vote, there is no more voluntary and sincerity in voting. I would say that it amounts to vote buying or should I say money politics? While money politics normally refers to individual buying vote for himself, are we to extend the definition of money politics into political party? I do not see any difference between an individual and a political party and as such, such definition of money politics should also be extended to political party as well. But then, who is to take action against the political party? The answer is no one will.

The question is, is it legally and morally right for the voters to be paid to do what they are obliged to do? Assuming of a police officer who is supposed to issue traffic summon to a driver and the driver, to avoid from getting the summon, gave money to the police officer. Straightaway, we would think of bribery. If you have that in mind, you are definitely right.

Now, we, as the Malaysian citizen, our duty are to cast vote during election. So, if certain party pay us in order for us to vote (what we are obliged to do) or provide some sort of “assistance” for that matter, is there any difference with the case of the police officer above? I do not see any. So, in my humble opinion, such practice is not only legally wrong, as it tantamounts to corruption, but t is also morally wrong, as we should carry out our rsponsibilities wholeheartedly and honestly and with sincerity. So, in the future, if such practice continue to happen, I won’t be surprise if there many more cases of corruption happening in our society.

Another friend of mine told me that he is not going to vote, as the candidates in his place are not from the political party that he supports. Casting our vote is not only about voting for the party that we support. While that is the main priority, casting vote, in that situation can also be done by ensuring that the party/candidate that we like the least or we don’t like or we hate the most, losses in the election. If we can’t help our party to win, on the same note, we can “help” our opponent to lose. To borrow the words of my colleague-"Your enemy’s enemy is your friend".

Few of the people that I spoken to, told me of the most common reason i.e. what difference will they make with their one vote? Believe me folk, every vote counts. While it is not commonly happen in Malaysia (majority by one vote), believe me it can happen and it was so close to happen in the 11th general election in 2004 at DUN Kemuning, Kelantan whereby PAS’ candidate, Zakaria bin Yaacob, a.k.a Cikgu Ya (6078 votes) won the state seat by majority of TWO (2) votes only over BN’s candidate Dato’ Wan Mohamad Zin Bin Mat Amin (6076 votes). If we can still remember, in the 11th general election, PAS won in Kelantan by the difference of TWO (2) seats (that was before the Pengkalan Pasir by-election). After the by-election, the state seat (which was held by PAS before the by-election), changed hand to BN. With that, PAS ruled Kelantan with the advantage of only one (1) seat.

Now, imagine these two scenarios.

First, assuming three (3) of PAS voters in that state seat (who had voted) decided not to vote in the 11th general election, that would mean BN would win the seat by majority of one (1) vote. That would further mean, after the Pengkalan Pasir by-election, Kelantan would have a mix government, as PAS and BN would hold the same number of state seats. What a losses to PAS isn’t it and at least a small victory for BN?

Second, BN would win the state seats if they have another three (3) more votes but they didn’t. It could due to at least three (3) of their voters decided not to vote (as they might think what difference would their one (1) vote made?). In this situation, BN was the one who suffered the losses. If the three (3) BN voters decided to vote, they would, at least caused a mixed government to be formed and simultaneously, limited PAS’ authority in Kelantan.

So, who said that one vote does not count? From the above, we can see clearly the impact of not voting.

There are also people who do not bother about who is running the country. This group of people, I would say, live in their own circle like a Malay proverb, “seperti katak di bawah tempurung”. They are only concern about their own “world”. Who runs the country is none of their business.

So, have our EC done enough to create awareness among the rakyat on the importance for them to cast their votes for any reason whatsoever? The EC could have done enough to ask people to register as voters but not in good enough in encouraging them to vote. This function or role should not be left to the political parties contesting in the election to perform, as it may lead to money politics or better known as corruption. Political parties are interested parties while EC is independent. So, definitely EC could have done it more effectively and sincerely.

So, whatever reason that you may have not to cast your votes, put that aside, as sometimes, we need to put the country’s interesst over ours. So folk, vote!!!

For those who do not vote on 8th March, you have waived your right to criticise the next government in power at least for the next four (4) years. Shame on you!!!

1 comment:

W.Asmaliza Abdullah said...

shame on you?????? what about me?who has to follow husband going back to kg to vote?