Compulsory voting for Malaysia

By Dr Chen Man Hin, DAP life adviser


It was revealed by the Election Commission Deputy Chairman that out of 16 million people eligible to vote, only 11 million have been registered to vote. It meant that 5 million eligible voters were not registered.

This is most unsatisfactory as it means that one third of eligible voters have been denied of the right vote because of a small technicality – failure to be registered as a voter.

It is also most unfair as these unregistered are composed of the poorer deprived section of the community, who need to have their voices heard and their problems aired and their grievances sttended to in parliament or the state assemblies.


The registration of voters has prove to be a tiresome and unproductive method of registration of voters. There is too much paper work, and very incovenient for the people, who have to travel long distances to registration centres.

This is most unfair. There is a better system to ensure all eligible voters are properly registered and entitled to vote.


Malaysia should follow the example of some 38 countries who practise compulsory voting, and achieve a high percentage of voting. Australia which practices compulsory voting records 98% of voters turning out to vote.

In europe, Italy and France have compulsory voting. In Asean Singapore, Thailand and Phillipines have compulsory voting.

It is time for Malaysia to follow suit by abandoning the present system, and save much money and labor. The compulsory system allow for automatic registration of those eligible to vote. The present arduous procedure of registration at a specified centre is scrapped.

With compulsory voting, the main advantage is that all eligible voters can exercise their voting rights and have their say in the running of the government and demand their rights. This is democracy, as all strata of society can exercise their right to vote.

  1. #1 by -ec- on Sunday, 27 December 2009 - 12:35 am

    while the scrapping of the present voter registration system makes sense, compulsory voting? do it mean voters MUST vote?

  2. #2 by dawsheng on Sunday, 27 December 2009 - 12:37 am

    Thought you never ask, well, better late than never. I am all for compulsory voting.

  3. #3 by OrangRojak on Sunday, 27 December 2009 - 12:57 am

    I remember when I first came to Malaysia, we spent some time living with my in-laws before our house was renovated. I had a very varied diet in the UK, but my in-laws … do not. When my wife noticed my enthusiasm for my mother-in-law’s cooking was waning, she reminded me “you have to eat it”. I like my mother-in-law’s cooking very much, now that I don’t have to eat it so often, but several times a day, every day, without option almost turned me into a dinner-table suicide bomber. Something similar happens when we join the in-laws for dinner. I no longer invite “we don’t eat that” by suggesting something or somewhere different to eat. The choice is invariably Hakka or Hokkien seafood, so I often just drink tea and play with my kids. Now that I no longer live under the same roof, I no longer “have to eat it”. Would Dr Chen kneel on my chest and force battered prawns or fish head into my screaming mouth?

    Could it be that low voter turnout in Malaysia is due to the unappetising menu on offer? I think it could – it is mostly the same old racists time after time. With the advent of the ‘two party system’ and the large number of cross-overs, it’s not quite 2 parties anyway: you can vote for one party only to discover your vote has been wasted on someone who defects to the other side soon after an election. Many of the Opposition faces must look familiar as Government faces of elections of yesteryear – it’s not even really an Opposition, half the time – it’s more like a lifeboat for BN refugees. What are voters to vote for when policies are so inferior and politicians so incestuous?

    I don’t follow the argument for registration at all – how will registration be different? Voters must still be registered, or how will ‘compulsory’ be enforced? How will voters know which area they are to vote in?

    I think Dr Chen may be as confused as I am: if he writes “can”, only giving someone the option to vote or not is compatible. A Right is not a Duty. Malaysians can already exercise their democratic right – that includes not exercising it. If he really means “must”, I think Malaysians have more than enough obligations already without one more of doubtful benefit.

  4. #4 by riversandlakes on Sunday, 27 December 2009 - 2:26 am

    It’s rarely that simple, Mr. Chen.

    Tell the EC how to make things better in terms of voter registration, transparency, etc. Tell them to utilize ICT to the fullest.
    Tell the EC to prove beyond reasonable doubt that ballot stuffing and phantom voters are things of the past. What good does it do to have compulsory voting if the house is not in order?

    You seem to have forgotten overseas Malaysians. Don’t forget them if you want compulsory voting else you risk disenfranchising them – back to Square One.

    So, I suggest you try putting more thoughts into articles before putting them online on Uncle Lim’s reputable blog.

  5. #5 by yhsiew on Sunday, 27 December 2009 - 7:30 am

    Some people do not vote because they get fed up with all the political parties – tired of their infighting and power struggles. If they are compelled to vote, they will just drop a blank ballot paper into the poll box!

    Why not give a little reward to those who have registered and turn out to vote? Perhaps the government can consider giving them RM1,000 tax deduction for mobilephone/broadband susbscription.

  6. #6 by homeblogger on Sunday, 27 December 2009 - 9:30 am

    Why would the EC make voting compulsory? The present system is obviously to the present regime’s benefit. Postal votes are their magical rabbit-in-a-hat way of controlling the outcome.

    I was a late voter. Why?

    – I couldn’t care less about politics – NOT because I was oblivious, but because I didn’t understand how it impacts me and my family.
    – I figured as long as there was money going into my pockets, let others vote.
    – I believed that my vote was not important.

    All that was available to me were main-stream media news, and they painted a picture of BN being a fair and just government (why would I want to rock the boat?) . They also effectively convinced me that Uncle Kit was a mad man, Nik Aziz was a religious fanatic and Anwar was a true-blue sodomite.

    Today, it’s a different story. Better late than never they say.

    – I now see the way the MSM manipulates our thinking so I have stopped my long-time subscription to TheStar. Why pay to have be brainwashed?
    – I keep in touch with what’s happening via blogs and websites.
    – I talk to people about the importance of being a registered voter.

    No, compulsory voting will not happen in Malaysia. That would be like BN putting C4 onto their body and blowing themselves up.

  7. #7 by boh-liao on Sunday, 27 December 2009 - 9:35 am

    Aiyah, no need RM1,000 tax deduction lah
    No got hear money politics meh
    BN oredi gave ang pow, besides May 13 threat, each time GE
    Perhaps if CMH spreads widely news abt BN gives big ang pow 2 voters during GE
    More eligible ppl will register as voters n get big ang pow during GE
    Sure work 1

  8. #8 by Onlooker Politics on Sunday, 27 December 2009 - 10:18 am

    Political indifference is the attitude many Malaysian adults hold about voting in general election for choosing representatives of both the state assembly and the parliament. If there is no effective measure other than money politics which can be adopted for encouraging the voters to come vote during the general election, then compulsory voting may be a good idea to ensure the majority voices of the Malaysian people can be duly heard through voting. It is very important for the political leaders to know exactly what kind of Malaysia the majority people of Malaysia want the political leaders to shape up as they wish so that the political leaders will not simply try to build their own Utopia out of their irrelevant information gathered from the Ivory Tower!

    I do agree that there may be some difficulties for the implementation of the compulsory voting in Malaysia, especially in the far remote rural areas of Sabah and Sarawak, where the high illiteracy rate has hindered the aborigine people from getting the proper understanding about the implication of their failing to vote when compulsory voting has become a mandate as required by law. It is not a problem in a country of high literacy rate like Singapore, where the voters will easily know through TV propaganda that they are to pay fine if they fail to cast vote without proper reason.

    Compulsory voting may be a good idea to call up the political awareness of the oppressed and suppresed among the Malaysian people.

  9. #9 by Onlooker Politics on Sunday, 27 December 2009 - 10:41 am

    “So, I suggest you try putting more thoughts into articles before putting them online on Uncle Lim’s reputable blog.” (riversandlakes)

    By saying the above comment, I guess you must be a young DAP supporter who does not know much about Dr. Chen Man Hin. I can assure you that Dr. Chen is a far-sighted veteran Opposition politician who was very popular and had earned high respect from among all the Seremban residents during 1960s and 1970s.

    Dr. Chen seldom lost in parliamentary contest in Seremban constituency, except once, when the former MCA National President Lee San Choon was transferred from Segamat to contest in Seremban during early 1980s (may be 1981 if I am not wrong). However, Lee San Choon’s win did not really bring Lee much glory, for he was using some kind of suspected foul methods to win, such as transferring the postal votes from Police Force or from Armed Forces to Seremban. Not long after Lee’s winning in Seremban contest, he was forced by Dr. Mahathir to resign from the political arena, mainly due to his open support being given to Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah (Ku Li) for Ku Li’s contest against Dr. Mahathir for Umno presidency during Umno’s party election.

    In other words, Dr. Chen ate more salt than you have eaten rice and what he recommended in this blog certainly worths our reading and worths given deeper thought by us.

  10. #10 by son of perpaduan on Sunday, 27 December 2009 - 11:11 am

    Perhaps I should ensure my registration is in the eligible voter system again. I encounter some problem with my registration when I check, not found! Election Commission should ensure it is friendly user when exercise the registration campaign and hassle free.
    Dr.Chen, perhaps you should help make the public more conscious by playing up this reminder issue.

  11. #11 by OrangRojak on Sunday, 27 December 2009 - 11:26 am

    Just as an aside, some of the themes in this story seem familiar from a Malaysian perspective!
    I didn’t know about the tattoo thing though… interesting.

  12. #12 by k1980 on Sunday, 27 December 2009 - 11:32 am

    …the bus’ data recorder showed that it was travelling at 91kph…!!!

    So the bus driver was trying to overtake the Wuhan-Guangzhou express train which has a top speed of 394 kph. Lucky for him, he was not in China, or else there would have been a bullet stuck in the back of his thick skull by now.

  13. #13 by OrangRojak on Sunday, 27 December 2009 - 11:48 am

    Onlooker Politics, if a common attitude to politics is indifference, isn’t there a great risk in forcing the indifferent to vote? In a 2-party system with freedom to vote, one party may win with just over half the vote from a 2/3 turnout. The truth of the matter is that the winner can only really claim the support of 1/3 of the electorate. If the indifferent were forced to vote, one would expect them to vote randomly, or in a similar fashion to their less apathetic fellows. The winner could now claim the support of 1/2 of the voting population – a claim of higher legitimacy.

    I think a comparison with Singapore is sillier even than usual. For Singapore to send enforcement officers to 99% of its vote-evading population is trivial and cheap. The same is obviously not true of Malaysia.

    I vehemently disagree with the idea of forced voting, particularly in a country with politics as retrogressive as Malaysia’s. If there was some ‘wrinkle’ in the rules that would make it less apparent a mechanism for artificially boosting legitimacy, I could be convinced that it might be in the nation’s best interest.

    How about introducing a ‘No good option’ vote, which would close Parliament for a year for ‘direct democracy’ by referendum before elections are tried again?

    How about introducing a “Vote against”, so that a Malaysian who didn’t like any party but was fiercely opposed to one? Perhaps 5 million voters could be persuaded to vote “anything but BN even if it’s worse”, when they could not be persuaded to pretend to support PR, because they suffered from chronic principle?

    I could almost be persuaded to support compulsory voting if Malaysia used a Proportional Representation voting system, so that every single vote was used to calculate the final composition of parliament – we’d have seen a very different Malaysia by now if we’d had Proportional Representation at the last GE, wouldn’t we?

    In the present circumstances, where hardly anybody has a clue what’s going on because of the absence of decent critical public comment, the heavy propaganda on both sides, and the stifling effect of the appalling ‘2 party system’, I think forcing people to vote would be encouraging them to emigrate even sooner.

  14. #14 by OrangRojak on Sunday, 27 December 2009 - 11:59 am

    k1980 – have you got your numbers wrong? 91kph doesn’t sound fast for a modern bus on a highway… am I missing something?

    Europe has very strict driver licensing, vehicle licensing and vehicle testing laws (none of which would have had any effect on the incident you refer to), but it also has very strict insurance legislation and enforcement. If Europe’s roads and buses seem safer than Malaysia’s I’d interpret that as a sign that nobody can afford to crash!

    I was astonished to read about Najib’s puppet in Perak rushing to the scene to hand out inducements. That wouldn’t happen in any country Malaysians would like to migrate to. What typically happens in bus crashes where the passengers and their relatives suffer loss is that those negatively effected start spending money like it’s water, in the reasonable expectation that the bus or driver’s insurance company will cover all costs. The insurance bill for something like that bus crash would be tens of millions. To keep costs down, insurers heavily penalise or refuse to insure those who have caused them loss in the past. If you can’t get insurance in Europe, you can’t legally drive or run a company that requires it.

    There’s no altruistic gene that makes people in other countries work for the greater good – it’s usually just better laws and more efficient enforcement. Does the bus operator or driver need insurance to operate in Malaysia? Will their insurance costs now rise? I’d be interested to know.

  15. #15 by limkamput on Sunday, 27 December 2009 - 12:39 pm

    There are several issues here:
    1. Does Dr Chen think that if there is compulsory voting, the opposition would stand a better chance?
    2. Following the law of randomness, those not registering can’t be all BN or PR supporters. I would assume that those not registering to vote would more or less follow the same pattern as those registering to vote.
    3. If those do not care to register, is there a priori assumption they are political aware and wish to change issues confronting them.
    4. Do you think those not bothered to register care about their voting rights, the cumbersome registering process aside?
    5. Alternatively, those not registering may feel that whoever forms the next government is not going to make much of the difference.

    The time is running out for PR governments. Despite the limited power and resources they have, they must quickly show some results, for example in terms of cleanliness, orderliness, civic consciousness among the people in states governed by PR. A good example is better than a thousand pronouncements.

  16. #16 by Educator on Sunday, 27 December 2009 - 12:55 pm

    1. First of all, make sure that all constituencies have approximately the same number of voters. Not as it is now where 5000 voters are in one constituency and over 100,000 in another. (The map for constituencies looks like a jigsaw puzzle.)
    2. How do you enforce that all registered voters vote?


  17. #17 by monsterball on Sunday, 27 December 2009 - 1:58 pm

    UMNO will have his team of wise men to discuss and plan…whether compulsory voting will benefit them.
    So far….what have been proposed by Dr. Chen..will never materialized under UMNO’s government…simply because…the 12th GE shocked them…and UMNO is right now…neither here nor there…loss in the woods..and funds stolen….all used. Government have no funds.
    To create multi billions projects..using tax payers money…to start all over again….what Mahathir did for 22 years..sure death for UMNO.
    So on compulsory voting…to guide Malaysian to be be more responsible….and support true democracy..that has to be from a new government..which PR is never afraid….as being true to Malaysians..only idiots ,,, racists..and fanatics..will vote for UMNO again.
    Once a Malaysia Malaysian is being practiced…..UMNO and BN are out-dated.

  18. #18 by frankyapp on Sunday, 27 December 2009 - 2:08 pm

    The election system is not so much at facult and frankly speaking ,the governing party and the opposition neither is to be blamed too..The real problem is the voters and those eligible voters who’s recalcitrant attitudes are to blame.Maybe it’s the perception,yeap it could be as all these while,the Umno/Bn government is seemingly chanting election rhetoric only and the opposition PR’s action is not contributing much either due to inconsistant implementation. Why there’s a recalcitrancy among the voters and those eligible young voters ? Think guys,think you all politians why’s it,when it’s a free lunch,the crowd is always overwhelmingly huge.If a free lunch could do the job,why not hatch/create something equivalent (no bribery please) to attract all eligible voters to register and all the voters to come to vote during polling days.

  19. #19 by OrangRojak on Sunday, 27 December 2009 - 2:28 pm

    If a free lunch could do the job,why not
    Cost of Living Allowance! Come on, it will work! If I was a Malaysian, I could start the Ugly, Argumentative, Smelly, No Good Wan Party tomorrow, offer every adult Malaysian a RM1,000 C.O.L.A. per year forever as a tax bonus – and every Malaysian – who doesn’t decide which party to vote for based on the presumption that they’re going to get vast sums of public money from their elected friends to build pointless concrete blocks on recently stripped jungle – would vote for it!

    I suspect Dr Chen may have made up the part about

    the poorer deprived section of the community

    , or if he hasn’t, I’d like citations to go with that – but if he is right about the 5 million voters being mostly poor, what are they more likely to vote for than free cash, forever? It’s not bribery Frank – all the nice, safe, developed places in the world have social support payments of some kind. Why not Malaysia? What poor person would not vote for a guaranteed basic level of economic freedom? What poor person who had recently received a guaranteed basic level of economic freedom would allow another political coalition to take it away from them? I reckon a COLA would win the next 3 GEs for PR, on its own.

  20. #20 by Onlooker Politics on Sunday, 27 December 2009 - 6:09 pm

    “If the indifferent were forced to vote, one would expect them to vote randomly, or in a similar fashion to their less apathetic fellows.” (OrangRojak)

    There would be a few events which might occur if the indifferent were forced by Law to cast vote during an election:
    1) The indifferent vote randomly so that the randomness in the distribution of indifferent’s votes will create no significant effect on the possible outcome of the election;
    2) The indifferent vote in the similar fashion as their less apathetic fellows so that the prospective winner will win with much higher margin than expected.
    3) The indifferent vote for the incumbent ruling party because they are satisfied with what they have been given by the ruling party in the past.
    4) The indifferent vote for a Change because they might hope that they could possibly get improvement about the quality of their life by intiating a change of the government.

    If any one of the above four possible events is to happen in the election, it will not be a game that can be as being a game full of lopesided sampling bias or full of prejudice like tossing a loaded dice. The risks involved are evenly distributed among the incumbent ruling party and the opposition party. However, it is expected that the most popular candidate will usually be given much more votes than the less popular ones in an election of compulsory voting which is made compulsory upon all its qualified voting population.

  21. #21 by Onlooker Politics on Sunday, 27 December 2009 - 6:14 pm

    Sorry, typo word missing!

    If any one of the above four possible events is to happen in the election, it will not be a game that can be ACCUSED as being a game full of lopesided sampling bias or full of prejudice like tossing a loaded dice.

  22. #22 by Onlooker Politics on Sunday, 27 December 2009 - 6:35 pm

    “I reckon a COLA would win the next 3 GEs for PR, on its own.” (OrangRojak)

    If PR is to offer COLA to the voters, I believe BN can afford to pay even a much higher amount COLA than PR does, in view of BN’s having possession of much higher level of party assets and of party leaders’ personal wealth than PR! In some developed nations like the United States, a way which has been implemented for a long period of time in order to curb the Money Politics during the election campaign is to get the judiciary branch to supervise and scrutinize the amount of campaign fund each and every single individual candidate is permitted to spend during the election campaign.

    A democracy system is not meant for the wealth-to-do philantrophic candidate to always win all the times!

    However, I do agree with you that some voters can be touched by COLA easily. As a matter of fact, many BN candidates did indeed pay RM10 per vote through their campaign agents during the election in order to win the contest in the election.

  23. #23 by Onlooker Politics on Sunday, 27 December 2009 - 7:38 pm

    OrangRojak’s suggestion on giving away Cost of Living Allowance (COLA) is a good idea for PR political leaders to give thoughtful consideration.

    However, they may also be some other material gains which PR can offer to the voters in the next General Election. PR is not obliged to deliver such kind of offer until it has won the controlling power of the Federal Government.

    In Singapore, PAP government used to offer sale of 200 shares of SIA at discount to the each and every citizen who has a depository account with EPF and also has a scriptless shares depository account with Central Depository (CDP) which was placed under the supervision of Singapore Exchange (SGX). Likewise, PR may also offer to sell Special Rights Issue of shares of Felda to the landless citizens of Malaysia at the expense of the Federal Treasury. The rights issue will not likely create any negative impact on the book value of the Federal Treasury if it is being priced slightly above the value of Net Tangible Asset per share of Felda shares!

    Here is a story for us to ponder some thought:
    A man promises his girl friend that his love towards her is going to be as great as the greatest thing anyone could get in the world and he can even put in all his life effort in order to pluck the moon out for her if the moon is really what she wants. Some rational people may think that the promise is just an unproductive and empty promise of a sweet dream which can never come true. However, to the girl who falls in love, it carries a very much different meaning. It means a strong life commitment from her soulmate.

    The morale of the story:
    If majority of Malaysian people are ready to ask for a change to a better situation in their everyday life, even a short question as simple as the one being asked by the late President Ronald Reagan of the United States in 1984 would bring big change to the political scene. President Reagan asked, “Are you better off now? If you think you are not better off, then please vote me in for a change!”

  24. #24 by Onlooker Politics on Sunday, 27 December 2009 - 7:42 pm

    Sorry, typo amendment.

    However, THERE may also be some other material gains which PR can offer to the voters in the next General Election. PR is not obliged to deliver such kind of offer until it has won the controlling power of the Federal Government.

  25. #25 by OrangRojak on Sunday, 27 December 2009 - 9:29 pm

    What I mean by COLA Onlooker Politics, is a yearly payment to all Malaysians, irrespective of need. With the right tax regime, it would be much the same as a means-tested payment to the needy, but would require neither a means-test, nor identify one group as ‘needy’ and another as not needy. I think it’s important to avoid labelling people, as I worry that a negative label can effect people’s expectations.

    I think there are 2 reasons why PR might be more likely – and more able – to pay a COLA (a regular cash credit per adult citizen, from age of majority until death) than BN: one is that BN’s politics is the politics of patronage and control. A criterion-free cash payment defeats patronage and does not permit control. The other is that a COLA would undermine BN’s ability to fund their cronies. The money currently paid in the form of subsidies and public projects of dubious benefit to common citizens amounts to a considerable sum. BN could not afford to both pay their cronies and pay a COLA.

    When I think about a COLA, I think a sum of around RM1000 per annum per adult should be about right (my costs of living are significantly higher than this, but I’m imagining it might be a reasonable amount to Malaysia’s poorest, who are more likely to get a ‘multiplier’ effect by multiple occupancy in their homes. PR would present this as RM5,000 for every adult Malaysian for their first term in power. That’s a worst-case bill of about RM100bn over 5 years, I think, less unclaimed monies. In fact, it would be much less: the accompanying changes to income tax bands would mean that better-off Malaysians would pay much the same tax they did before the COLA.

    Of that amount, much would be spent in small businesses nationwide – poor people are not about to eat cash or bury it in their gardens. A great amount will just sit in local bank accounts – where it should be transferred (never given in cash or kind), so the banks might view such a scheme favourably! I think that’s money that would be spent by any government anyway, it’s just spent in a different way. I believe the effect of spending the money this way would be good for the nation as a whole and lousy for cronies.

    The beauty of it, as you point out in a later post is that it is pure promise before coming to power – it is an inducement that costs PR nothing, unless they come to power after a GE. Even then, it may only cost their cronies something in ‘lost benefits’. Longer term, it even ties PR’s hands: money they might be tempted to spend on something ‘frivolous’ like submarines or LKY’s meranti floorboards will already have been spent on a worthy cause!

    I like your idea of shares – though I think to poor people and the cynical it might smell of unfair advantage for citizens who already understand stock markets. I expect there are plenty of Malaysians among those who need financial assistance the most who may not fully understand even something as simple as cash. Subsidies and non-cash assistance schemes do nothing to help people join the ‘finance’ game, but further cement their dependence on the state.

    We occasionally beat around the obvious bush of those elements in Malaysia that may not take a loss at a GE peacefully. I think something like a COLA, especially if it’s #1 on the post-election agenda, might persuade otherwise supine citizens to speak in favour of a new government. Any attempt to prevent the new government from fulfilling its COLA promise would be an attempt to steal RM5,000 in cash and a more financially secure future from every less-well-off Malaysian citizen. Something that might animate those previously indifferent?

    I’m not at all convinced of the need for Compulsory Voting. PR can only implement it if they win at GE – after that, what’s the point? I think offerign something like a COLA might be a good second best – we could call it Compulsive Voting!

  26. #26 by ktteokt on Sunday, 27 December 2009 - 9:33 pm

    Compulsory voting is good but this depends a lot on the Election Commission. This Commission which is supposed to be neutral has been playing hanky panky.

    My personal experience tells a lot on this Commission. Four general elections ago, I voted from my present address but three elections ago, my name suddenly disappeared. The rest of my family members’ names remain unchanged, except mine has disappeared on the voters registration.

    My persistence in searching for my name finally found it at another address in another housing estate in my area, which address was totally unknown to me. After that election, I re-registered as a voter at my current address and I wrote to the Election Commission complaining of the incident. Since then, my name appeared at the correct address.

    I think these are measures taken by the authorities to discourage me from voting. Another thing is about this thing called “secret ballot”. Malaysia is supposed to be practising this secret ballot thing but from my experience in the several general elections before the last one on March 8 2008, I find that it is possible to trace which party I voted for in each of the elections.

    All ballot papers bore serial numbers and upon calling at the polling station and surrendering my I/C, the polling officer will check it against the voters’ list. Upon finding my name, he crosses out my name, pulls out a ballot paper, records the serial number of the ballot paper against my name and then hands me the ballot paper. It would be an easy process for them to check which party I voted for by simply checking the serial number. So, is there any secret in this system of voting?

  27. #27 by waterfrontcoolie on Sunday, 27 December 2009 - 10:55 pm

    Looking at the behaviour of some Police personel, I think the Gomen of the day is shooting its own foot. In this 21st century with the net connectivity, please don’t go round acting as if the general public is blind or brainless. They are actually pushing the fence sitters to vote against them!!

  28. #28 by Onlooker Politics on Sunday, 27 December 2009 - 11:23 pm

    “In Singapore, PAP government used to offer sale of 200 shares of SIA at discount to the each and every citizen who has a depository account with EPF and also has a scriptless shares depository account with Central Depository (CDP) which was placed under the supervision of Singapore Exchange (SGX).” (Onlooker Politics)

    I wish to correct my own mistake in the above sentence due to my gradually faded memory. The company SIA as mentioned to be the subject matter for share issuance at discount rate was inaccurate. The correct company should be Singapore Telecom Limited. The event happened during first half of 1990s.

  29. #29 by Onlooker Politics on Sunday, 27 December 2009 - 11:40 pm

    As mentioned by OrangRojak, share issuance offer at certain discount rate by the government may not be a fool-proof promise as it is not an easily understandable thing for those poor and illiterate and for those who do not have trading experience in the stock market. However, the blue chip shares being kept by the ordinary men-on-the-street may be a good bet for both the ruling party and the voters. Assume that all other things being equal (ceteris paribus), the voters as the shareholders of blue chip company like Felda will most likely be able to obtain maximum gains from the dividens declared by the shareholders’ company, provided always that the voters did really bet on the right horse by voting in an honest, competent, effective, clean and efficient political coalition to form the Federal Government. If BN is too far from being qualified as the right horse, I don’t mind as a voter in Malaysia giving a trial for once or twice betting all my stakes including all the pants and trousers which I have into Pakatan Rakyat, hoping that PR will be a black horse which really runs up to my fullest expectation!

  30. #30 by cemerlang on Sunday, 27 December 2009 - 11:41 pm

    If there are still some people living in some remote parts of Malaysia, probably they will say they have their own way of choosing a leader. Then they will scratch their heads and ask what is the meaning of elections ? How do we force these hidden people to vote ? Are we going to mobilize every known mode of transport and start hunting for them ? There are still some Malaysians who regard the interior or nature as their homes; Orang Aslis, Penans, Punans, the nomadic boat people of Sabah.

  31. #31 by OrangRojak on Sunday, 27 December 2009 - 11:58 pm

    ktteokt – interesting observation, I remember something similar from the UK, and Wikipedia has a note on it too, with an interesting ‘enhancement’:

    One time I voted in a General Election in the UK, I had not long before moved house, and hadn’t updated my registration. The local council (if I recall correctly) employed casual workers to check the voting register against house occupants. A man came to my house and sternly reminded me that I should make sure my registration was up to date, as voting was an important right and a civic duty. I thanked him for reminding me, and promptly forgot due to the stress of buying a house that subsequently collapsed (it was 200 years old, and only the more recent interior collapsed).

    Two weeks later the man was back and gave me a finger-wagging scolding because I still hadn’t updated my voting registration! I did it that very same afternoon! There was never any mention of voting a particular way from the angry temporary worker from the local council, only that I should take part in the vote. I can’t imagine – perhaps I’m not being totally fair – the same level of impartiality here.

  32. #32 by Onlooker Politics on Monday, 28 December 2009 - 12:17 am

    I can see your point here because I understand that the Temuan Orang Asli of Negeri Sembilan will hand down the leadership from one deceased Batin (tribal head) to the eldest son of the eldest sister of the deceased Batin. This tribal custom has been more or less influenced by Minan Kerbau custom.

    However, we are talking about the election of choosing a representative in the state assembly or in the parliament here. It is important for each and every eligible voter of Malaysia to cast his/her vote in accordance with his own personal will in order to convey a clear message on the majority people’s aspiration. Without such a 100% information gathering mechanism, it will be quite difficult for most people to understand about the vision of the right kind of Malaysia the majority Malaysians want our political leaders to shape up for us in the future!

    For instance, Najib was quite complacent to assume or presume that all Malaysians want “1Malaysia, People First, Performance Now”. However, if we are to allow the compulsory voting to be implemented in Malaysia, we may immediately find that the actual aspiration of majority Malaysians may be very much different from what Najib thinks or perceives as is! Who knows exactly what kind of Malaysia the majority Malaysians want it to be in a situation without having a thorough survey being conducted in a proper manner using the scientific method and accurate statistical analysis? Perhaps the majority Malaysians may just want the following vision:
    “1Commitment, Stomach First, Money Come Now!” and not Najib’s hollow slogans!

  33. #33 by frankyapp on Monday, 28 December 2009 - 3:20 am

    Yeah I agreed with orangrojak’s suggestion of giving RM1000.00 annual COLA to all registered voters. Inaddition,I suggest all government specialist medical centres to give a 50% discount to all registered voters.I think the voters especially those middle and lower income groups would welcome it with both thumbs up.

  34. #34 by OrangRojak on Monday, 28 December 2009 - 4:12 am

    orangrojak’s suggestion
    … never mentioned registering to vote! I think frankyapp’s version has real merit though. I’ve always claimed a COLA should be criterion-free, but I think I’ve written before (I thought it, at least) that anybody receiving it should submit a tax return (even if it’s empty) and have a bank account. Those are criteria. My thinking was that it would encourage people to engage with the mechanisms of financial self-determinism.

    Frankyapp’s suggestion of registering to vote as a criterion is a nice compromise between forcing people to vote and doing nothing to encourage them to. My one worry about a ‘Cost of Living Allowance’ is that nobody would ever be able to agree that it is the right amount – ‘Cost of Living’ being highly variable from one person to the next.

    How about calling it a ‘Citizenship Bonus’ or something that wouldn’t invite argument over the amount, and having some very simple criteria like submitting a tax return, having a bank account, keeping voting registration up to date, attaining a minimum level of competence in Bahasa Malaysia (not a simple test…), being in the country for 18 of the last 36 months? Maybe there are some other very simple criteria that could be considered.

    Other countries have ‘Citizenship Tests’ (the UK’s one is terrible, in my opinion – too much religion and cricket). Why not have a regular checkup with a ‘reward’ for being a good citizen? I think the criteria should be very, very simple, so as to ensure as close as possible to 100% disbursement.

    This feels like a brainstorming session!

  35. #35 by lupus on Monday, 28 December 2009 - 6:05 am

    Malaysians oversea are NOT allowed to VOTE

    From the Malaysian Govt website, hence one of the many reasons I gave up Malaysian citizenship. Hence 11 million voters includes thoses who are overseas but cannot vote.

  36. #36 by undergrad2 on Monday, 28 December 2009 - 8:38 am

    “The time is running out for PR governments. Despite the limited power and resources they have, they must quickly show some results, for example in terms of cleanliness, orderliness, civic consciousness among the people in states governed by PR.” limkamput

    I’m shocked!

    So now we are to vote for a government that could better keep our public toilets clean and dispose off rubbish and empty our dumpsters faster than another?? We are supposed to vote in a government that could better instill civic consciousness among residents like helping old ladies cross the road??

    Tell me more!

  37. #37 by Onlooker Politics on Monday, 28 December 2009 - 8:45 am

    The similar kind of incentive as ‘Citizenship Bonus’ has long since been implemented in Singapore although it is adopted for either serving the purpose of taking care of the medical insurance bill of the poor senior citizens or for serving the purpose of encouraging the Singapore Permant Residents to naturalize as Singapore Citizens. For instance, Senior Citizens who had possessed a CPF account would be topped up with S$200 ocassionally when the Singaporean Government reported high growth in economic performance. The medical insurance bills could be paid through deduction from CPF account for making payment on behalf of the CPF account holders to the insurance company.

    Another instance, married couple of Singaporean citizens would be entitled to buy heavily subsidized HDB flat. Those citizens who made registration with HDB about their intent to get married would be given priority to buy heavily subsidized HDB flat. The Singaporean Permanent Residents are only allowed to buy HDB flat in accordance with market price from the open market, conditioning on joint buyers basis.

    The Pakatan Rakyat leaders can look into the possibility of using the incentive of free medical insurance and public housing subsidy to encourage voting in the General Election.

  38. #38 by HJ Angus on Monday, 28 December 2009 - 10:08 am

    All those benefits etc are good and well-intentioned.
    I think more Malaysians can be encouraged to register if they are educated on the merits of having a good government that ensures the following does not happen:

    1.Scandals like the PKFZ and losing RM100bil of the nation’s wealth.
    2.Cheating states of their rights like oil royalties.
    3.Subjecting school children to flip-flop education policies.
    4.Exposing the public to dangerous/fatal building and bridge collapes.
    5.Endangering the national security with the loss of important/undetermined military assets.
    6.Allowing VVIPs to shift millions abroad in violation on money-laundering rules.

    I am sure others can contribute to more items that can form at least 15 major components of an election campaign to retire the BN government.

  39. #39 by OrangRojak on Monday, 28 December 2009 - 10:48 am

    long since been implemented in Singapore
    Well, since they have implemented it in a way that apparently benefits urban dwellers (an accusation frequently levelled at DAP) , those already involved in higher economic activity (an accusation frequently levelled at DAP), the elderly (inextricably linked to wealth, and hence … DAP) and the married (interfering in private lives of its citizens – to be fair, not one of DAP’s alleged faults but certainly an issue for PAS), I think PR has a great opportunity to show how a country that cared enough about their citizens to set them free would do it.

    If such a scheme were to be implemented as subsidies, it would be ‘business as usual’ – money paid to cronies for a ‘benefit’ the recipient has no choice over. If it was means tested at all – by being offered as a discount – it clearly favours those more able to pay the un-discounted portion.

    PR could use subsidies and discounts to avoid having to give money to people they don’t know, Onlooker Politics, but then they’d be repeating the sins of the past and failing to grasp new opportunities. It has to be cash, or the alleged non-voters from the poor and less educated sectors of Malaysian society won’t understand. And if they understand, I am of the opinion they would be right to be cynical if the ‘offer’ is anything other than cash.

    With so much at stake, I think it’s important that the gesture should be unmistakeably generous, from the point of view of those who most need generosity.

  40. #40 by OrangRojak on Monday, 28 December 2009 - 11:29 am

    Off-topic: is Mahathir’s latest foray into comedy a terrible misjudgement, even by his low standards? Sneering at (while misrepresenting) a respectable attempt to repair legislation that facilitates arbitrary detention – when it is an aggravating factor in a recent and controversial sudden death – is despicable.

  41. #41 by limkamput on Monday, 28 December 2009 - 12:12 pm

    Jurisdictions under the state governments and local authorities are limited. So do whatever you can to show to the people PR are more creative and can make a difference if they come into power at the federal level. I was attracted to the idea initiated (if not mistaken) by the Shah Alam municipality that for each rat caught by the residents in a housing area, a ringgit will be rewarded for the effort. I think it is a good idea to begin the change process that Malaysians in general are so lacking. Seriously Penang needs change of attitude toward many things and I believe the state government can provide leadership on that.

    As for the comments hurled at me by Undergrad2 @ jaswant, etc, you are just a person walking around with your shoulder almost dropping off, so do I need to comment further.

  42. #42 by Winston on Monday, 28 December 2009 - 1:43 pm

    All this talk of whether you want to vote voluntarily or forced to vote is really a no brainer.
    Just think whether you have a choice in it or not?
    Life is always a choice of choosing the lesser of two or more evils.
    If you don’t choose, you’ll have to accept the choices of others and have to live with it.
    If you can, by all means do so!

  43. #43 by taiking on Monday, 28 December 2009 - 2:02 pm

    Automatic qualification to vote – Yes, definitely.

    Compulsory voting – Eerrr. Weeell its an oook idea, I suppose. Certainly it would be one way to increase voters turnout during GE. The question is ensuring adherence to that compulsory requirement, by qualified voters.

    Automatic qualification alone could be sufficient to do the work of increasing voters turnout. Perhaps, not as effective as when compulsory voting is thrown in as well. But I am quite certain that an improvement from the current situation could be seen if qualification to vote is made automatic and not dependant on the extra step of registration.

  44. #44 by OrangRojak on Monday, 28 December 2009 - 2:08 pm

    Does anybody have a clear idea of how automatic registration would work? My understanding is that registration is not a matter of whether you will vote or not, but where you will vote. How could that be made automatic?

    I’m not looking for an argument here, just want to know exactly what we’re arguing about!

  45. #45 by Onlooker Politics on Monday, 28 December 2009 - 2:36 pm

    “PR could use subsidies and discounts to avoid having to give money to people they don’t know, Onlooker Politics, but then they’d be repeating the sins of the past and failing to grasp new opportunities. It has to be cash, or the alleged non-voters from the poor and less educated sectors of Malaysian society won’t understand.” (OrangRojak)

    Economic decision is a decision which involves with scarcity and choice. A promise to give away equal amount of cash to each and every qualified voter in order to attract the poor and less educated sectors of Malaysian society to come out and vote in election may sound very attractive. However, in most ocassions, a RM10 cash note may give a much higher utility value to the poor and the needy than the well-to-do person.

    In order to attract the urban dwellers, incentives like housing subsidy and medical insurance reimbursement may be much more relevant, as some average income earners in urban areas are still poor in terms of purchasing power parity and the cost of living in urban areas is usually much higher than that of the rural areas.

    To totally avoid giving away subsidy to the needies in order to avoid the practice of cronyism sounds like asking someone to stop eating and to stop drinking in order to heal the scouring problem. It simply won’t work in the long run because no one can afford to always pay out cash without prejudice and without selection of market segment which is the target to attract attention. Anyway, cash is still the thing in high demand and is always facing the biggest shortage situation. Therefore, Pakatan Rakyat leaders must be careful to evaluate the suggestion of cash offer as too low a cash amount will not likely attract too many city dwellers and too high a cash amount will most likely drain out all the cash flows of the Federal Treasury!

  46. #46 by OrangRojak on Monday, 28 December 2009 - 2:36 pm

    Sorry for spam, but this has to be my favourite story so far from the Christmas season:

    If any operators want to modernise their services by using steam trains, I would be happy to give them a quote

    – a group of enthusiasts used their own time and money to build a new steam train and put it through the UK’s Rail certification process so that it can now run on the main line. I thought it was a wonderfully positive story!

  47. #47 by OrangRojak on Monday, 28 December 2009 - 2:54 pm

    It simply won’t work in the long run because no one can afford to always pay out cash without prejudice
    …except in those countries where it does? I don’t think you can make such a strong statement in the face of so many good counter-examples.

  48. #48 by Onlooker Politics on Monday, 28 December 2009 - 6:19 pm

    “I don’t think you can make such a strong statement in the face of so many good counter-examples.” (OrangRojak)

    Please give me a few good counter-examples that can really prove that the government will always have the ready cash to give away without having to jeorpadise the financial position of the government. Please don’t cite the United Kingdom as a good example, for God knows how much national debt or international debt you British people owe now and have to hand it down to the next few generations before the huge debt can be fully redeemed.

    Even a cash-rich country like Singapore sometimes finds it very difficult to have to give out cash too regularly to the citizens without jeorpadising the cash flow planning of the nation. Therefore we still find that Singapore Government tends to reduce the public servants’ bonus payout rate in the lean years!

    If we are talking about robbing Peter to pay Paul, of course it seems that the Government will never have its financial sources of cash supply that can be immediately dried off so long as there are still some Peters to be robbed in the country. Notwithstanding, there will always be time that majority people of the nation will come to believe that they are indeed Paul and no Peter. Surely all Pauls will quickly rise up to fight against the Government if they are having the perception that they have been wrongfully treated as Peter and wrongfully robbed by the Government when by right they are supposed to be treated as Paul who will receive the donation or subsidy from the Government.

    Redistribution of income among different income groups of a nation is not a 100% accurate science which you will have certain set of rules and scientific principles to follow. Whether a government is successful in giving a perception to the people that it is a good government which renders good governance will all depend on how far the Government manages to convince the people that the policy that is being or has been implemented by it is working to the best interest of the concerning individual in particular!

    You may see that it is good for the Government to give out cash to each and every citizen but I may see it as a money-squandering behaviour which has to be put a stop before it turns habitual and starts to cultivate the lackadaisical human attitude among our production workers.

    If the main objective of a Government policy is to eradicate poverty, then it is wise for us to identify the group of people who live in abject poverty or in absolute poverty and to concentrate all the Government’s effort in helping this underprivileged group. Surely giving out equal cash by the Government to each and every citizen without prejudice will not likely narrow up the income gap between the haves and the have-nots! It will defeat the purpose of eradicating the poverty when relative poverty will sooner or later become our main concern!

  49. #49 by taiking on Tuesday, 29 December 2009 - 9:55 am

    Merry x’mas Rojakman.

    I dont know about automatic registration. But automatic qualification to vote can be a mere technicality. Then again, this may be a matter of terminology – qualification or registration. They could well be the same in substance. I would propose the following mechanism to achieve the susbtance.

    All malaysians who on attaining 18yrs of age would automatically go on to the electoral roll and be qualified to vote. The data for the roll may be fed directly by the national registration dept. And by default, their constituency would be dictated by their respective addresses in the dept’s record (i.e. as indicated on their NRICs).

    There are several issues here. (1) There must be a cut-off date for the data feeding by the national registration dept. To my mind, the electoral roll update must take place a reasonable time before general election. (2) That means the dates for dissolution of parliament and for holding election must be determined and disclosed way in advance. Not a problem really but to umno that would tantamount to losing an ace card. (3) Voter’s must be allowed a reasonable time to inspect and change their particulars recorded in the roll after the roll update is completed. This may be done online. Thereafter the roll would be deemed final and election would proceed on the basis of that final roll.

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