Friday, April 19, 2013

Malaysia's 13th General Election

Malaysians have been heaving speculating when the next General Election (GE) would be held since November last year. The 5 year mark from the last GE (8 March) came and went, the only other time this has happened was in 1969.

KS and I had planned to go for our Italy holiday in either April or May. We waited for the news but there were no forthcoming announcements. We couldn't wait so we booked our air tickets on 5th May, avoiding as many Saturdays as we could since previous GEs were held on Saturdays.

Finally, when the Prime Minister announced the dissolution of Parliament on 3 April, I eagerly waited for the announcement of the GE date. People speculated it would be at the end of April so I felt somewhat assured I wouldn't miss it. Then the Election Commission took their own sweet time and only announced it a week later. And the date they selected? 5th of May. Our flight is at 1030am, we have to be at the airport by 0830 latest. Polling stations open at 0800. KS votes in Melaka.

Different permutations came into mind:
1. We check in the day before. KS goes back to Melaka to vote as soon as the doors open while I vote in PJ. We both then speed our way separately to the airport to make it for our flight.
2. I vote and grab the ERL which takes 28 minutes to reach the airport while KS checks in earlier.
3. KS votes while I check in earlier.
4. We just don't vote.
5. We shift our flight one day and pay the forfeit of RM860. Thankfully this is Emirates so we only need to pay the fine for changing our details and fare increase.

I checked with the travel agent and neither one of the first three options were viable. Then I thought, what's our votes worth anyway? But I've been advocating and encouraging everyone else to vote and here I am, not even voting. I cannot imagine not voting when I've been so passionate for the last many years.

Then I remembered that there are potential phantom voters waiting to vote on your behalf. That's when I called my travel agent and made the change. So what if I have only 2 days instead of 3 in Rome if I am going to regret for the rest of my life of not being a part of a historical event in my own country?

There are stories out there of many Malaysians coming back to vote. I heard someone flying back all the way from Finland. Jan says most of her Malaysian colleagues in Singapore are coming back to vote. Those who can't are few due to fully booked tickets. Maybe they should ask around to hop on with those who are driving back.

Ini kalilah.

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