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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
- 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.