Malaysians must not waste the “second chance” to reset nation-building policies to fulfil our national destiny to be a great nation
Esther Wee, who had been in Auckland for fifteen years, flew back to Kuala Lumpur to vote for the 14th General Election to cast her vote for the Seputeh constituency, but when she went to her polling centre after lining up for nearly two hours, she was told by the Polling Agent that she could not vote, as her name in the polling roll had been deleted as her vote had already been posted to her to her Auckland address in New Zealand.
The postal ballot which the Election Commission sent to her in Auckland was only received on 11th May, two days after Polling Day on May 9, 2018. She has the Election Commission letter and the postal marks to prove such a shocking state of affairs in the second decade of the 21st century.
It was fortunate that her parliamentary constituency was Siputeh, which the DAP/PH candidate Teresa Kok Suh Sim won with a super-majority of 56,059 votes, or her missing vote together other missing votes might have caused the loss of one parliamentary seat for political change in Malaysia.
During my visits to Perth, Canberra, Sydney, Melbourne, Christchurch, Dunedin, Wellington and Auckland, I heard many wonderful accounts of how dedicated, idealistic and patriotic Malaysians went beyond their ordinary call of duty to fly back from foreign capitals and hand-carry postal votes.
Thousands of Malaysians abroad were unable to return their postal votes in time, but a global community of volunteers, the unsung heroes and heroines of the Malaysian Diaspora, sprang up to hand-carry every vote home before the 14th General Election deadline at 5pm on Wednesday, May 9, 2018.
Parveen Nagappan the co-ordinator of Bersih Melbourne told me that the voluntary work of hand-carrying the postal votes could be quite dangerous as travellers have been advised not to carry anything from a stranger, but the heroes and heroines who hand-carried the postal ballots home hazarded such risk and danger because of the highest patriotic motives to save Malaysia from being trapped in the trajectory of a failed state, rogue democracy, kakistocracy and global kleptocracy.
We read of Malaysians in San Francisco Bay Area who needed to get their ballots home. They had intended to give their votes to someone flying home on May 7, but when their ballot papers didn’t arrive until 4 p.m. the next day, the group needed a Plan B.
Eleven Malaysian voters in San Franciso chipped in to pay for the $US990 plane ticket for a person they “barely knew” to hand carry their ballots back to Malaysia.
Then there were the runners who had based themselves at Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA), to take the ballots and sent them to all directions, north and south, east and west.
This was an extraordinary show of patriotism and commitment to democracy. But why was it necessary – as we hardly heard of such election events in other countries when they hold elections with regard to postal ballots of their citizens far away from home.
It was because of the loss of faith, trust and confidence in the government of the day, compounded and reinforced by the delays in receiving ballot posts, the fixing of Polling Day on a Wednesday and a distrust about whether the postal ballots will be counted correctly.
This is why there is a need for a New Malaysia, where far-reaching institutional, structural and legal reforms need to be carried out to restore faith, trust and confidence of the people in the government-of-the-day.
This is also why Malaysians must not waste the “second chance” to reset nation-building policies to fulfil our national destiny to be a great nation, where we can leverage on the assets of the diverse races, religions, languages, cultures and civilizations which meet in confluence in Malaysia and form the basis for a new civilization based on the best values and assets of the world’s great religions and civilizations.
The great task to build a New Malaysia cannot be accomplished in 100 days or in five months, but will take a decade or two.
It is only in the last few days that the Pakatan Harapan Government has announced a sheaf of reforms, such as lowering the voting age from 21 to 18 which is already the practice in most democracies; the appointment of Art Harun as Election Commission Chairman to clean up electoral system and election process; and the establishment of the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC) which had been mooted 12 years ago by the Police Royal Commission in 2006!
Malaysians must also develop the qualities of perseverance and patience so as to develop the Big Picture and the Long Vision to ensure the success of the reset of nation-building policies to build a New Malaysia.
The heroes and heroines of the 14th General Election, not only the voters but also the patriots who hand-carried the postal votes home, like Francis Lui of Auckland, must ensure that the New Malaysia can be born and sustained in the coming decades.