By Muhammad Faiz
It is only hours away for Malaysians to cast their votes in Malaysia’s 14th General Election on 9 May. It is customary that every five years a general election will be held in the country to elect new representatives and to form the government. In this election, candidates will be chosen through an election process to represent their respective constituencies in Parliament.
As a first-time voter, it is a surprise for me to see how big my role and responsibility would be in the election process to determine the destiny of the nation. Indeed, to be able to cast my vote is such a big responsibility that I cannot just forsake it. Therefore, it is really important for me and other citizens who are able to vote to exercise the rights accordingly.
1. Educate ourselves
In any setting, education is most essential. As Malaysians, we need to educate ourselves of our own political systems and the way they work. Knowledge regarding electoral system and electoral process in Malaysia is important.
Once we have figured out the election process and electoral system in Malaysia, it is time to educate ourselves about the political parties, their ideologies, and their chosen candidates to contest in the election. Most of the voters would agree to vote based on the political affiliation of the candidates and manifestos or promises of their political party.
However, it is also important to make the choice based on what we know about the candidates. Their background, their past achievements and failures, and their track records. Not to mention also are their moral values as leaders.
By educating ourselves, we would be able to make a wise decision and vote with clear conscience.
2. Know steps to cast the vote
To be able to cast a vote, one must bring along Mykad or Identification Card (IC) to the polling station. Besides, a voter must follow the procedures that have been carefully and thoroughly laid into places. This is to avoid any mistake that might have been made during voting which can lead the vote to become ruined or invalid.
With that being mentioned, we must make sure to ourselves that we will not do anything that might warrant the vote to be declared spoiled. Thus, we need to follow each step and abide by the procedures strictly as the future of our country is in our hands.
Exercising our right to vote for our leaders is such a privilege for us as citizens of this country. This is also the legacy of the hard work of our previous leaders in fighting for Independence. If it is not for their struggles and sacrifices, we might not be able to exercise these rights today as we might still be colonised. Fortunately, we are not.
US President Abraham Lincoln once said that “the ballot is stronger than the bullet”. The quote does show the significance of what voting does in a democracy. With that kind of significance, one can only educate oneself before making the decision. Franklin D. Roosevelt once said, “Democracy cannot succeed unless those who express their choice are prepared to choose wisely. The real safeguard of democracy, therefore, is education.” ***