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Never too late to register

  • You need to vote to protect and enhance your own future as well as the future of our country and people.

The Election Commission (EC) rightly advises that, it's never too late to Register to Vote.

Almost all voters will accept the advice of the Election Commission that it is never too late to register to vote

The EC is right, but should have persisted earlier too.

Nevertheless, why is this EC advice so vital? It is because, unfortunately, about 3.8 million Malaysians have not registered to vote as at September last year. Most of them are young Malaysians above and around the age of 21.

What a shame is this and what an indictment against our youth who will be our future leaders! It's sad and perplexing!

But why have the largely young eligible voters not exercised their responsibility and duty to register to vote?

Is it indifference? Do they see no differences between government and opposition policies? Do they see no differences between the quality, performance, commitment to serve sincerely and honestly among all politicians regardless of political parties?

Then why not register to vote for individual GE14 candidates and not the political parties?

To be fair, not all political leaders are unworthy of our votes. There are many who are just, fair and dedicated to serve their voters with sincerity and selflessness.

Of course there are many dirty politicians in Malaysia as in many other parts of the world, but that does not mean we should abdicate our sacred responsibility to register to vote and to actually spoil our votes on the polling day!

Both these practices can severely damage the election process and democracy itself!

That is why "undi rosak" or spoiling the votes at the ballot box is so destructive and disruptive to the whole election exercise.

Those who indulge in supporting, and worse still participate in "undi rosak" campaign will do us all patriotic Malaysians a great disservice. Vote spoilers can actually be seen as sabotaging the electoral system, which is most unfair to the rest of us all.

So, we appeal to mostly the youths who have not registered as voters or who plan to "undi rosak", to support and strengthen the electoral process and enhance our democracy. Please don't let us down!

Please rush to the nearest post office or EC office to register yourselves as soon as possible. Also, please desist from spoiling votes!

EC's role

The Election Commission has to do a lot more to live up to its duty to the government and the rakyat. It must go all out to win over those who have not yet registered to vote or who plan to spoil their votes.

The EC could, for instance,

1. Employ more registrars and assistant registrars of voters.

2. Step up its promotion campaign to register voters and discourage vote spoilers.

3. Educate eligible but unregistered voters to fulfill their responsibility as citizens.

4. EC chairman Tan Sri Mohd Hashim should set Key Productivity Indicators (KPIs) especially during these last few months before GE 14. The EC should take it as a challenge to achieve higher voter targets and less vote spoiling.

5. The chairman should ensure that the independence of EC is maintained or even enhanced in order to protect the integrity of his own post, his officers and the EC itself . Then public respect for the EC will increase and more will register to vote and would do so at a faster pace.

6. The abuses gerrymandering constituencies and malappropriation of votes should be countered to ensure a free and fair election. Then there will be more trust in our electoral system and greater confidence and faith in our democracy.

Conclusion

Although GE14 is so near, it's sad that about 3.8 million Malaysians have yet not registered to vote. Worse still there are many, especially the youths, who plan to boycott the ballot box and even spoil their votes.

As the EC advises, it's never too late to register to vote. So, we appeal to Malaysian youths to register to vote as soon as possible and not to boycott the elections or spoil your sacred votes.

You need to vote to protect and enhance your own future as well as the future of our country and people. Please don't let us down! Please show us your patriotism and lead the way forward for a better Malaysia!

(Tan Sri Ramon Navaratnam is the Chairman of ASLI Center for Public Policy Studies.)

 

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