Would I Vote if I Could? General Election in Malaysia

Well as I’m sure you know now is the time for the general elections, voting in the powers to be to rule the country with a firm but fair hand for all.

There’s a few major issues I have with the political system here and of course the voting system..I have been surprised as well with the lack of understanding of the voting system, the ruling party and the politics involved in Malaysia by the average Malaysian citizen.

It seems a lot of people just really don’t care.

1] Racially segregated parties, why must everything be about race? Why must Chinese stick up for Chinese? Indians stick up for Indians and Malays stick up for Malays? Why can’t Malaysians just stick up for Malaysians and everyone do what is best for the country and their fellow countrymen?

Why all the separation, racial bias and bickering about which races are anti whatever other races.

The paper is full of it today – if you vote for the opposite they won’t look after the Chinese! Vote MCA it’s the only way to safeguard the Chinese people of Malaysia! Blah blah blah..

When will Malaysia have a truly racially agnostic party capable of destroying the NEP in a realistic and non-drastic manner and running the country based on what is best for the rakyat – the word specifies no race correct?

Education and politics should be race agnostic, schools should not be governed by race or religion. There should just be schools, state schools shouldn’t push any specific religious agenda, there shouldn’t be Chinese schools.

Just schools with options for language, if you want to learn Chinese go ahead, if you want to learn Tamil go ahead regardless of your race it should be a choice.

2] Gerrymandering – this is a huge problem…but then it’s based on the British system so I guess you can blame us for that..the incumbent party can move the borders of each constituency to either water down hardcore opposite conclaves with more votes for their party – or they can box in opposition strongholds by expanding borders to ensure they don’t lose more votes in surrounding areas.

3] First Past the Post or Plurality voting system – ok this one is taken from the Brits too..it favours the incumbent unless there is an equally strong party (which Britain does have with the Conservatives vs Labour). The system will eventually ‘breed’ a two party race as it doesn’t leave space for the 3rd place…any votes not for the winner or second place are wasted and are basically votes against the second place. (See Duverger’s Law)

4] Lack of a Shadow Cabinet – I think this is crucial for check and balance, for the stability of the country. Basically every minister would have a ‘shadow’ minister from an opposition party. This means if the minister makes any stupid decisions the shadow minister can call him out and stop him wasting money/time etc. Not only UK uses this also France, Australia, Canada, Japan, Ireland, Poland, Scotland and even our neighbour Thailand!

5] Vote buying – this used to happen in UK as well of course a long time ago, it may still happen…it still happens in Taiwan, Mexico and even US according to some.

The use of money by candidates during campaigns has been a problem in some areas. The practice of vote buying in internal UMNO elections was openly acknowledged at the UMNO General Assembly in 1994 and specific cases were publicized in 1995 (New Straits Times, 9 August 1995). In the 1996 state elections in Sarawak for the seat of Bukit Begunan, the unsuccessful candidate successfully mounted an election petition in court to challenge the result using evidence of vote buying.

6] The disparity of constituency with 1 to 1 voting – it was supposed to be controlled at no more than 15%.

For the one-person one-vote system to function, the disparity in numbers of voters between constituencies (whether at state or parliamentary level) must be controlled. The original 1957 Federal Constitution provided such guarantees — it said that the disparity shall not exceed fifteen percent (15 %). However these fundamental guarantees have been removed by constitutional amendments. Today, opposition-supporting parliamentary constituencies in Kuala Lumpur have up to 100,000 voters whilst the smallest parliamentary constituencies may have about 20,000 to 25,000 voters. The difference intended originally to be limited to 15 % has now become 400 — 500 %! In 1990 for example, while Penang (which has traditionally been an opposition bastion) had an average of about 50,838 voters per constituency, Perlis had an average of 33,032 voters per constituency. Further gerrymandering occurs in the provision of state seats within parliamentary constituencies.

7] No serious contender – Similar to point one, there’s no single, heavyweight, race agnostic opposition party that can give faith to the people they can lead the country. DAP seems to be the stronger, but alone it’s still not large or powerful enough to topple BN. The other parties have minor followings. The FPTP system will eventually breed a strong enough second party, who it will be – time will only tell.

8] Campaigns of Negativity – BN is especially guilty of this, but most parties seem to be partaking. I’m not seeing a lot of positive stuff in the news, you should be selling your party on what it CAN do the country…not what the other party CAN’T do or what they’ve done wrong in the past. Seriously it’s rather depressing to see all the fighting, insult hurling and allegations being made (Tony Pua is an economic failure? Teresa Kok is a loose woman?) Please, where are the ethics?

9] Lack of strong leaders – People don’t want to vote for BN because they don’t have faith in the people at the top – which is fair enough. But amongst the opposition are there enough charismatic people with a strong background to win the votes? Yes Anwar is a superb speaker – but who’s going to trust him with his background?

Anyway that’s enough rambling.

The point is please educate yourselves and those around you, I’m mostly preaching to the converted here as most blog readers know what’s happening in the political world better than the average Joe due to rapid and deep dissemination of information online.

Read about the process here: Elections in Malaysia

So would I vote if I could – of course! In UK I voted for the Green Party!

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16 Responses to Would I Vote if I Could? General Election in Malaysia

  1. KY March 7, 2008 at 3:40 pm #

    Thanks for writing this.

  2. Mark March 7, 2008 at 4:00 pm #

    Very timely piece of information mate.

    I do hope more and more people will bother to read up on our latest news in regards to politics. Sad to say that the local newspapers and TV stations are not really being competely independent with the blackout of all opposition news.

  3. yothemans March 7, 2008 at 4:12 pm #

    my mates in Uk did vote for the Green Party 🙂
    unfortunately the Brits still prefer Labour.
    D.Cameron is not bad either but he is too Etonian

  4. beetrice March 7, 2008 at 4:28 pm #

    Given the reputation of politics, why am I not surprised?

    There’s still a long LOONG way to go..and it’s probably good common sense to take in all the news around you with a pinch (or more) of salt, particularly if it’s in the mainstream media.

  5. Terenceg March 7, 2008 at 6:29 pm #

    you’re lucky you don’t have this tough decision ! haar har

  6. kevin March 7, 2008 at 8:30 pm #

    wanted to go back to vote. alas, the EC removed the usage of the ink in this elections.

    they are really threatened this time round.

  7. BikerVoodoo March 7, 2008 at 8:51 pm #

    Watch 10 Tahun Sebelum Merdeka by Fahmi Reza. This race thing is all a British Divide & Rule thing!

  8. Jaz March 7, 2008 at 9:08 pm #

    Perhaps u should read the post by your good friend Kimberly. I think that in a democratic country the right not to vote should be as sacred as the right to vote. Ist democracy about free choice. If I choose to be ignorant, isnt that my right.

    You have as much chance of getting rid of race based politics as you have of having the Pope as the next Prime Minister. In a poll of Malays it was found that they considered themselves as Muslims first, Malays second and Malaysians third. I dont think the other races are any better. Both the Chinese and Indians are pretty chauvinistic. We all are. There is no way the politicians are going to give up using race as its too convenient a way of garnerning support by using the ‘threat’ of the other races. As they say, politicians aren’t born, they’re excreted.

    Personally, I agree with what John Stuart Mills wrote, that is, democracy works in a monoethnic society. Especially socialist policies work without resentment in a monoethnic society. Once you lose this, the fabric tears and everything falls apart. Look at the Netherlands now. Once you dont have monoethnicity, its difficult. And in Africa you can see that its not just race but tribes.

    Further, as Lindeman said in Heroes, you can live a life of happiness or a life of meaning. But not both. May be that’s why people dont bother. After all, the events that are going to have a big impact on our lives have already been set in motion. There is very little we can do about it. Contrary to what everyone tells us, individually we make no difference.

  9. eyeris March 8, 2008 at 12:08 am #

    I’d vote for the Green Party too if there were one here. sigh.

  10. Bumi Ownz U March 8, 2008 at 9:42 am #

    Hi Shaolin…
    Couldnt help but read your blog today. Anyway, please find the link to a nice article on BBC Asia Pacific regarding the sentiment of Malaysian people….

    I particularly like RAMLAH SULAIMAN’s comments with relation to how Malays have had to tolerate the Chinese and Indians up until now. I also love her comments regarding the fact that Most chinese open shops and the unfairness of it all… I’m sure the sentiment is very similar amongst other Malays too, hence Racially discriminative laws being passed in parliament.

    Happy Voting

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/7274476.stm

    You may also want to check out the Hindraf.org website. It shows BN paying off phantom voters. Not too sure how credible the source is though…

    Cheers from Sydney.(Thankfully)

  11. azrin March 8, 2008 at 11:04 pm #

    Actually it’s more dirty in UK.
    I voted in UK too(and till now)…and I even had candidates like BOB THE BUILDER on the independent form for Gillingham South, MEDWAY KENT.

    Heee heee heeeee…..
    PS: I’m a Singaporean and I still vote in UK.There’s another one coming up.

    azrin @ http://www.azrin.net

  12. Bumi Owns U March 8, 2008 at 11:19 pm #

    More Dirty in the UK… Azrin, Bob the Builder may not be a good candidate, at least Bob doesn’t have to resort to bribery.

    How can you compare the democratic system in the UK with Malaysia? There’s no comparison at all.. The UK blows Malaysia away.

  13. jan March 9, 2008 at 5:41 pm #

    If I choose to be ignorant, isnt that my right.

    lol – such a silly twit!! sighs.. Malaysia has a long ways to go with people who think like this (besides having access to the internet, etc…)

  14. Grant S. March 14, 2008 at 5:56 pm #

    Very late commenting – waited until it was all over heh (albeit not from choice) – but I agree with 99% of what you have written. Just as an aside a good friend of mine ran for the Green Party in Finchley North, against a certain Mrs. Thatcher.
    It was a brave attempt! Green Party FTW!

  15. ddnsem August 11, 2008 at 3:32 pm #

    the government is doing their best for the sake of our country. they’re doing it for our bright future. just be supportive and you’ll see it. everyone make mistakes. give them their second chance to prove it.