Its people's choice Foto Bernama
By Fadzli Ramli
MELAKA (Bernama) -- Coming from a family who have been strong followers of a political party, since the age of 21, I have been reminded to vote during each election.
I started voting in the Ayer Hitam parliamentary constituency in Johor until the 12th General Election (GE12) before shifting the voting venue to Bukit Katil parliamentary constituency in Melaka, now renamed as Hang Tuah Jaya after the recent review of the electoral boundaries.
Apart from voting for the Wakil Rakyat, over the years I have also been observing the services rendered by these elected representatives and to be honest I find that many of the Wakil Rakyat fall short of expectation.
Even here in Bukit Katil, a senior politician who lost in the contest for the seat in GE13 seems to be more close to the people than the incumbent Wakil Rakyat.
Many of the Wakil Rakyat hardly meet their constituents or work to bring development in areas under their jurisdiction. I have seen many reappearing only when the election closes in and remain invisible in much of the five year term.
So it is important that voters choose the right candidate to represent them effectively in the state and federal legislatures and bring development for their respective areas and the constituents.
Hence, before crossing the ballot paper the voters need to know of their candidate, whether he/she could serve them or the elected person limits his/her role only as fierce orators in Dewan Rakyat and state assemblies.
ITS IS NOT ABOUT POLITICS
Wakil Rakyat of poor track record have created another problem. Due to their ineffectiveness, the younger generation have lost interest in voting for a Wakil Rakyat. There was even the 'Undi Rosak' (spoilt vote) campaign promoted by certain groups disenchanted with the political parties and the political figures in the country.
However, I beg to differ. The voting process gives them the opportunity to elect someone who is really capable of serving them. It is not just about politicking.
By voting for the right politician, they may in fact open the doors for greater opportunities in life. There could be more opportunities to develop oneself, one's neighbourhood, towns and cities and even backwaters.
And every vote counts, remember a candidate can even win by a single vote. Hence, your vote is important.
LISTEN, READ AND EVALUATE
One of the most important thing for us as voters is to listen to ideas and policies voiced by the candidates and their parties.
Hence, I take the trouble to attend election ceramah (campaign speeches) organised by the candidates and partíes from both side of the political divide.
Snacking on boiled chick peas (kacang kuda rebus), like I always do, I listen attentively to what they have to say about current issues, their promises to the people and their ideas to make things better.
However, I prefer debates better than the often fiery political speeches that lack substance. Political debates, which is quite rare in our election scene, also provide a better picture of a candidate's ability and help evaluate the solutions that each candidate provide on issues of concern.
I also glean through news reports from multiple media to have better understanding of all issues. However, one has to be mindful of fake news peddled by numerous groups and people to influence the election outcome. So please make sure the news source is legitimate.
Manifestos from political party is one of the best source in understanding each party's stand on certain issues and their policies when they are given the mandate.
So what do we do from all the available information? We evaluate them and choose the best party and candidate to represent us in the state and federal legislatures.
IT IS THE PEOPLE'S VERDICT
The election gives the opportunity for Malaysians to make a conscious decision on the country's leadership for the next five years. The mandate given by the people to the elected representative about five years ago has now come to an end and GE14 gives the people another opportunity to choose the government we want.
So make sure you cross the ballot papers for GE14 for a better future for Malaysia and its people. In doing so, think twice.