Let’s take back our votes

— Nagappan Karuppiah
The Malaysian Insider
Apr 26, 2012

APRIL 26 — I read Yolanda Augustin (“Why Malaysians overseas are joining Global Bersih 3.0”, Side Views, April 24) and found myself nodding at each line.

I left Malaysia in 2003 to study in Australia. At the end of the first semester, I’d decided I’d make Australia my home. I’d had no interest in Malaysian politics to start with, but in that first semester, Australia opened my eyes to what freedom of speech is about. What multiculturalism — living with people of various races — is all about. How you can write to the newspapers and criticise the prime minister and the government for their policies. How on prime-time television you can voice your opinion. In Australia, I found the meaning of being part of a free, democratic and civil society.

I received my permanent residency in 2007 but to date I am not able to make or call Australia home. Malaysia is still where I cherish the best memories of my life, my school days and friends. I still find myself calling Malaysia home. I am still very much Malaysian at heart.

Over the past few years, I began reading and comparing the sociopolitics of Malaysia and Australia. It became apparent that Malaysia as a country has one too many stumbling blocks to progress, never mind to become a developed country. There’s corruption, a pathetic education system, gerrymandering of electoral boundaries, wastage of public funds, how one per cent of the people — the politicians and the elites associated with them — control the economy and how nothing drips down to the lowest strata of society. Worst of all, most Malaysians are still apathetic to everything that goes on around them.

I don’t think many Malaysians fully understand the effect of what took place in Parliament last Thursday, April 19, when eight laws were passed in one day. Probably distracted by the assault on Occupy Dataran, the French submarine case or, worse, couldn’t be bothered.

What happened that night is probably the single most awful thing that could have happened in our entire history. Forget 1969, forget arbitrary ISA arrests, forget Mahathir’s 22-year dictatorship, forget the PKFZ scandal or the numerous other scandals that ate your tax money. Forget all these.

None of these is going to matter when your vote is reduced in value. Yes, that’s right. Your vote now, this year, is worth far less than it was in 2008. With your vote, those of your family, your friends’, in fact everyone’s votes being reduced in value, the government has just made sure it can stay in power, indefinitely. Which means, all the past misdeeds, your fears and anxieties can just be as easily repeated.

All the previous Bersih rallies demanded electoral reforms. Now we have gone backwards.

There will no longer be independent scrutineers at polling stations.

No more safeguards on fraudulent voters.

Counting agents can now be removed by the Election Commission.

And nobody can go within 100 metres of vote-counting areas.

Illegal immigrants are now being given voting rights. Do you want them to decide our country’s future?

We were better off in 2008 than we are today.

But we are Malaysians. We are stronger than this. We are just not going to keep quiet while they mess around with our votes. We kept quiet before and they have made it easier to steal the elections. But we are not going to keep quiet any longer. Any unjust law is worth fighting. We are not only fighting for our future, but for our children’s future and their children’s future as well.

There’s only one way out. We need to show them we care. We need to show them that we are not apathetic. We need to show them we get hurt when they take away something that belongs to us.

Let’s take back our votes.

Let’s sit in knee-to-knee with others this April 28 at Dataran Merdeka and in more than 79 other locations around the world.

Let’s “duduk bantah”. For the sake of our country, our children and their children.

  1. #1 by dagen wanna "ABU" on Friday, 27 April 2012 - 8:34 am

    ///Australia opened my eyes to what freedom of speech is about. What multiculturalism — living with people of various races — is all about. How you can write to the newspapers and criticise the prime minister and the government for their policies. How on prime-time television you can voice your opinion. In Australia, I found the meaning of being part of a free, democratic and civil society.///

    You forgot to add one mega important point bro. With all those freedom given to the ppl the country (i.e. australia) did not come crushing down and neither did the economy collapse. In other words, umno and jib lied. Freedom does not equal to end of world. Quite the opposite actually.

  2. #2 by The Outsider on Friday, 27 April 2012 - 8:38 am

    I couldn’t agree more with this article. And our government has got the face to state that we are a democratic country.

    All the corrupted should be purged and exterminated. Fair elections and freedom of speech for all. Stop the corrupted from raking in more power and profits for themselves while destroying our country.

  3. #3 by yhsiew on Friday, 27 April 2012 - 9:17 am

    Let us free ourselves from BN repressive iron fist rule and vote for change come GE13.

  4. #4 by dagen wanna "ABU" on Friday, 27 April 2012 - 10:18 am

    The street party is all about free and fair election – the cornerstone of democracy – and nothing else. Lets face it, we want a free and fair election because we want to be able to get rid of umno properly and constitutionally. In other words we are not a bunch of crooks who usurp power illegally like what happened in perak. So we support the Bersih movement. Twice we did it but twice umno countered it – meaning umno does not want free and fair election; which is to say, umno supports Kotor. And umno’s counter measures backfired massively.

    So this time round, umno has wised up (thats what umno thinks anyway). Instead of countering the movement, umno superficially appears to allow it but instead outsourced the nasty task to KL City Hall. Hey, DBKL is still umno, bro. We are not fools umno. Change of outfit does not make you any different. We know it and the world knows it.


  5. #5 by loveandgratitude on Friday, 27 April 2012 - 10:27 am

    Mostly importantly with Msians like you overseas, Will YOU come back to VOTE, Nagappan?

    Don’t give one excuse after excuse another if you Can’t.

  6. #6 by SENGLANG on Friday, 27 April 2012 - 11:33 am

    Many of you are have been away have wrote beautifully on your love on Malaysia but all these are come to nothing if those of you not even register as voters and if yes just did not come back and vote.

  7. #7 by monsterball on Friday, 27 April 2012 - 12:56 pm

    Lets fight terror with terror by terrifying them with our participation on BERSIH 3 with disobedience and without violence.
    That has work to free a country like India….why not Malaysia?
    Stop talking….do something.

  8. #8 by monsterball on Friday, 27 April 2012 - 1:01 pm

    In 2 hours from now….few of us are checking into a hotel …near Dataran Merdeka for the historical 28th event.
    The Govt. can keep making all sorts of reasons…as much as they like.
    We can’t be bothered.
    For those that cannot participate…they can pray for the participants that the Police should protect them…not harm them

  9. #9 by dagen wanna "ABU" on Friday, 27 April 2012 - 1:16 pm

    Umno has got a court order to lock down merdeka square. So much for freedom and respect for the people.

  10. #10 by sheriff singh on Friday, 27 April 2012 - 2:17 pm

    Dataran Merdeka is ‘holy’ ground. It is where we got our independence. The people have a right to be there.

  11. #11 by SENGLANG on Friday, 27 April 2012 - 2:18 pm

    The script is repeated again and again. Bersih 2 ask for MEderka Statadium they say No. go else where, now they ask for Dataran Mederka, they also say no go else where. As usual court come to an assisting hand.

    Now we also have knew that the big gun in EC are actually member of UMNO. But they say what they want to say, they say they are independent and as a member of the ruling party will not guarantee them bias. They are men and no small boys so they can act fairely?

    But people do not believe in what they say. Rather they have acted and people lost confident in them. Thus Bersih 3 is on……….

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