while waiting for a table for lunch, my friend and i took a stroll around the newly renovated bangsar shopping center. there, in the annexe on the 3rd floor, was a booth set up by the folks at dosomethingepic.net to register voters.
i registered to vote the moment i turned 21. it was something i had looked forward to ever since i followed my father to his voting station as a primary school kid. my parents make sure that they kept abreast of the nation’s issues and have never failed to vote during general elections – i guess that rubbed off on me too. when the general election of 2008 came along, i was ecstatic about casting my vote for the first time. as you know, the outcome of that election was a shock to many. to me it was an unforgettable lesson in the possibilities that a vote can bring.
so it baffles me when my peers say that they don’t think their vote will matter, or that it is pointless to be counted; that malaysia is going to hell anyway and we might as well just accept that “fact” or prepare to leave. it is a travesty to deny yourself the right, the responsibility to have a say, even if in a small voice, about how you think this country should be run.
my friend jumped at the chance to register herself as a voter yesterday. it probably had a little to do with the fact that the guy we were talking to at the booth was rather cute, but i think it was more of a response towards the growing sense of responsibility young malaysian adults have towards our country. we have social media to thank for that. we have ngos who know how to use social media to thank for that.
if you are over 21 and have yet to register as a voter, please do so at your nearest post office or at one of the booths set up by e.p.i.c. all across the nation. if you are a registered voter, the next step as a responsible adult is to keep track of what’s going on in malaysia so you’ll be able to make an informed decision come next general election.
if you are a student overseas, there are ways for you to cast a postal vote – unfortunately only ceku provides a comprehensive guide on how students in the uk can register as postal voters. i hope other students in other parts of the world (especially united states, australia and new zealand) can set up websites to provide information on how to make your vote count as well.
it really is too bad that other malaysians overseas are unable to vote from their current country of residence unless they are on government service. all i can say to that is…come home for a holiday during the elections! i’m sure you won’t mind another helping of your favourite nasi lemak, hehe.
as i was leaving bsc after lunch, i noticed that some volunteers have moved from the unfavourable position of their booth to register voters right on the ground floor. i have no doubt that we will achieve the target of 2 million new voters.
p/s: there’s an updated entry by the author of the guide to registering as a postal voter in the uk here. like many stories about malaysia that begin with a promise of hope, it does not end well. however, i believe that perseverance will only lead to better things (whether we reap it in our lifetime or leave it to our children) and i want to encourage you to give it a go if you’re a student in the uk. 2013 awaits.