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Tag / election

Yesterday, 5/5/2013, was the 13th national election of Malaysia, the country I called home. Just like back in 2008, I went cast my votes at SMK Sri Permata for the candidates of PJ Utara parliamental seat and ADUN of Kampung Tunku. Here are some of my thoughts and observations:

Google Malaysia Election art

Google and the whole world was watching as Malaysian went to the poll. The Google graffiti of the day was cute and appropriate. I’ve heard that it was worldwide and not just for google.com.my either.

polling day at SMK Sri Permata

At polling stations, we are separated into different “saluran”, apparently according to age groups. However, this was not done in a manner that made most sense, and hence my line (saluran 4) ended up having a one hour queue while some of the other lines had no queue at all. This should be something that’s easy to fix.

indelible ink, transparent ballot boxes

Voting process itself was rather straight forward. First we checked our names at ground floor, then at our saluran we present a paper with the number (mine was actually wrongly written, off by 1 digit, human error), have our IC cross checked, the agent will then call our names.

Next was to get our fingers painted by indelible ink, and we then get the ballot papers, one for ADUN and another for Parliament. It didn’t take more than a minute or two.

state of our classrooms

I didn’t realize that the state of our national schools were so bad. This is SMK Sri Permata in Petaling Jaya, not any old school in rural areas, but the facilities were extremely basic and upkeep were poor. If this is how average schools look like, they seemed to have regressed  since I went to high school back in the 90s in Penang.

The younger generation deserves better. No wonder private education is a booming business.

indelible ink that isn't that indelible

Even though my line was the longest at the polling station, I did manage to get it done in about an hour. We went to TDH and claimed a free beer for voting (thanks!), and then waited patiently for the results to come in at night.

After dinner, we decided to head to SS2 for a while to see what’s going on at the DAP’s gathering with Tony Pua and gang announcing the results as they come in.

DAP results at SS2

The results were very encouraging, with DAP leading many of the seats they were contesting. Unfortunately there were not able to get the results from PAS and PKR in real time, we turn into Malaysia Kini on mobile for those. We left at around 10 pm when my phone’s battery was running low, and had our hopes and spirit high then.

BN managed to secure enough seats to form government sometimes after 1 am. This was quite a lot later than usual.

Final results were 133 vs 89.

Some observations:

  • DAP won 38 in 51 seats contested, with PKR securing 30 and PAS at 21
  • BN denied 2/3 majority in parliament
  • Independent candidates did not get any seats, it was largely a two way fight
  • Many big names previously on BN (or BN friendly parties) fell or did not contest – Raja Nong Chik, Ali Rustem, Zulkifli Noordin, Ibrahim Ali, Chua Soi Lek, Rais Yatim
  • This could be the last election for Lim Kit Siang and Anwar Ibrahim
  • BN managed 49% of all votes while PR won the popular votes with 50%
  • There are many instances of ballot boxes coming in as late as 5 hours after poll closed, some managed to swing closely contested seats to BN candidates
  • Banglasian seems like the new ethnic group in Malaysia, there were instances of rakyat stopping alleged “ghost voters” at various stations
  • SPR and major TV networks seemed to release BN wins way earlier than PR seats
  • State wise PR lost Kedah, managed to retain Penang, Kelantan, and Selangor all with 2/3 majority
  • PR managed to make some progress into Johor & Sarawak
  • MCA (6 seats) and Gerakan (1 seat), as well as MIC to a lesser extend, become irrelevant. People are tired of race base politics
  • While the election seemed dirtier than ever, flow of information were also the best with Twitter/Facebook and WhatsApp
  • Many of us gets results through these means faster than even online portals
  • Many express dissatisfaction on Twitter & Facebook, declaring that democracy is dead. I personally don’t think it’s dead, but here in Malaysia, it needs cleaning up badly

Malaysia is still very much the country I love, and like many, we will continue to strife towards a true democracy. In the end, though PR did not manage to form government, there were many small victories nonetheless. There are something to build on.

Lastly, I’d like to introduce word of the day to you – Gerrymandering.

One of the greatest things about this country is that every few years (no more than 5 to be exact), the power returns to the hands of its citizens. To people like you and me.

Yes, it is the election. A process by which the general population chooses individuals to hold public office – and form government. In the case our country, any citizen of Malaysia who is over 21 years old are elegible to vote.

Register for Malaysian Election
me in 2007 when I register to vote with SPR

It is speculated in many online publications as well as the traditional media that election could be just around the corner. For those who are elegible to vote (and especially those who never voted), here are some of the things you should know:

  • SPR, or Suruhanjaya Pilihan Raya (Election Comission of Malaysia), is the body responsible that regulates and conduct electionsin Malaysia
  • You need to be over 21 and register with SPR to be eligible to vote
  • You can register at SPR offices, POS offices with computer, and even Malaysian Embassies at other countries. (refer to SPR page here)
  • Registration is free, and you only need to bring your IC
  • It takes up to 2-5 months after you register to be eligible to vote. The registration process is divided into four period, for period Oct-Dec, you will be able to vote if the election falls after next February. (refer to SPR page here).

voter registration waiting period in Malaysia
voter registration waiting period in Malaysia – for Oct to Dec registrations

  • If you have already registered, click on Semakan Daftar Pemilih to check your registration status, a box like below will appear, key in your IC number to proceed.


find out your registration status

  • To change your voting address, you need to be present with your IC or JPN paper to SPR office, counters, or POS offices with computers (the same locations for registration).
  • SPR also provide services

Participation in elections is not only a privilege, it is a right that every eligible citizen should exercise. Remember, if you did not vote, you will have no right to criticize the the leaders you did not participate in choosing.

Colors of the Campaign
banners of BN & PAS at Kampung Baru, 2008

While elections might not happen anytime soon (maybe not even next year), there is no harm in registering yourself with SPR early. All it takes is a few minutes of your time.

So exercise your right as a citizen of Malaysia, and register to vote, then when election comes, choose the best candidate whom you think will make Malaysia the best country that she can be.

For more information, head to http://www.spr.gov.my.

Every 4-5 years, we, Malaysians, will get to decide where the country is heading for the next term.

I am ashame to say that although I am a qualified voter since 2 terms ago, this is only the first time I am going to cast my ballot. I have SK to thank for bringing me to the Postal office for registration last September.

I was in the States and thus not able to vote on the 10th General Election. 4 years ago, there was the feel good factor, coupled with my laziness to register as a voter that prevented me from doing my part in this country. This year, I am doing it, and my vote will count.

I have slowly realized that the voting is not only a right, but a responsibility. A responsibility we shall honor for the sake of our countrymen and our motherland. Like it or not, I am born in this country and this is my home, I have a responsibility for her well being. I need to do my bit.

There are a few categories of people whom aren’t going to vote for one reasons or another. Some are too lazy, some don’t care, and some scared of the repercussions they might get if they vote against the power that be. Whatever your reason is, I respect your decision, but I might not be in agreement with you. It is sad to see people succumbed to the class bully, the scare tactic should not be effective in a democracy.

To those who will be voting, let our voice be heard.

Whoever you are going to vote for, vote wisely, vote for someone whom you think can give you a voice, can represent you, and can help move our country back to the right direction for I am saddened to see that she is veering a little off course now.

I will be very anxious this weekend.

remember remember, 8th of March
ballots, flyers, but no ink
to the casting stations let us rush
and let the real representative wins..