This year, I am 22 years old and I’m eligible to vote. But I didn’t.
Therefore, as some of you have mentioned, those who have not vote, have no rights to complain if any of the government policies is not in my favour. But I still have my freedom of speech. I can still voice out what I have in mind.
GE12 was in 2008. Back then I was only 17. Being a teenager, I didn’t care much about politics. All I knew was I want to have loads of fun though SPM was approaching. I never discussed politics with my friends, never with my parents or with my family. It was more of an adult thing and I didn’t bother. The lack of my understanding and knowledge on politics made me uninterested about the subject.
When I entered my tertiary education, only then my eyes opened. Whether we like it or not, politics concern us. One starts to acknowledge ones’ rights and role as a citizen as well as understanding how the constitution in Malaysia works, especially, local politics.
I start to realize the issues that concerns Sabah. With the likes of poor public transportation, poor medical access to rural areas, badly patched or graveled roads and illegal immigrants. It is this time as well I learned about the history of Sabah’s politics, thanks to the access to various information from various resources. I started to become aware and my awareness became stronger as GE13 approached.
But as I have mentioned, I did not vote. I haven’t registered myself as a voter and to those who may condemn me for I have not exercised my right to vote given the fact that I’m eligible to vote, I apologize.
This time however, GE13 has thought me lessons. It has thought me to be more mature in my political awareness, to know how democracy in Malaysia works and to educate myself of the process of election. It has also thought me to keep an eyes to those who won their seats, to get to know the political leaders, mark their progress and transformation brought. This way, regardless of the government or opposition, I can cast my votes rationally without the strong influence around me. In other words, be a smart voter, not just going for what majority around me rooting for.
Out of the 222 Parliament seats, 133 seats won by Barisan Nasional and Pakatan Rakyat won 89. It takes a minimum of 112 seats to win and 148 seats for two-thirds. For Sabah’s state Parliament seats, BN won 22 out of the seats while DAP won two seats and PKR a seat. On the state assembly seats, BN won 48 out of 60 seats while PKR won seven seats, DAP won four seats and STAR one seat.
I share the devastation and sadness of all the voters who went for the opposition. That, the hopes for reformation has lost. That we have to wait five more years for a change. Five more years for a better, Sabah (and our neighbouring state, Sarawak). Five more years to speak out and demand our rights that has been scraped off since many years ago. Also the fact that after each blackout, a party mysteriously won. It raised questions of fraud and integrity whether if GE13 was a clean and fair election or not.
Despite what has happened, I believe hope is not lost, change is possible and giving up is the last thing that we should do. We’ve seen the changes in the GE13 results. It wasn’t a big leap, but small steps towards a bigger, better transformation. Those of you who have voted, made a move forward from where you were five years ago.
To the reigning champion, Barisan Nasional and the people who supports the coalition, congratulations. Those who weren’t in favour in your government understood your decisions and hope that, you also understand why, those who voted against the coalition wanted a reformation. I hope that the newly elected government will start fresh, and meet the expectations of the people. Never to let them down and conduct their affairs corruption free. Not just giving promises because, promises, are meant to be broken. This goes to the opposition as well. Whether it’s government or opposition, I hope that they can perform well. And I hope, this GE13 result will result in a better and mature Malaysia.
Malaysians, though our political views differ, let us not make it a reason that drifts us apart. Last time I checked, this is still Malaysia, and Malaysians, stick together. Let us ponder the meaningful lyrics to Keroncong Hujan, written by the late Yasmin Ahmad shall we?
“Hujan membasahi bumi, melahirkan keluhuran budi,
mengeratkan perpaduan suci, kasih sayang abadi”
I would like to quote someone I met a couple of years back, “if you’re not in favour of the government, you can change it every five years”. And I will cast my vote.
See you in the next general election.