So, last Friday, Malaysia’s Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak has announced the dissolution of Parliament.
Less than 24 hours ago, the Election Commission announced to the public that the polling date for GE14 will take place on the 9th of May. It wasn’t too much of a big deal before it came to everyone’s senses that 9th of May is a Wednesday.
Yup. Wednesday. Hump day. Middle of the freaking week.
9th of May is also the day where Bruno Mars will be here in Malaysia to perform for his sold-out concert.
While this is the 4th time in Malaysia’s history where the polling day is held on a weekday, GE14 will be the first midweek election since Malaysia came about.
The good news is that our Education Ministry had declared a special school holiday on 9th May in conjunction with the poling day for GE14.
But what about to those who are working, like you and I? Hundreds of questions instantly pop up in our minds, such as:
a. What if my boss doesn’t approve my leave?
b. What if my boss deduct my salary just because I want to balik kampung for the voting session?
c. Is it worth the mad rush back home just to cast my vote?
d. My vote alone doesn’t make much difference, so should I just forget about it?
Hmm… Don’t worry bro, if your main concerns are (a) and (b), then the Election Offences Act 1958, section 25 is the answer to your questions.
So, how does the Election Offences Act will aid you in times as such?
1. Every employer shall, on polling day, allow to every elector in his employ a reasonable period for voting, and no employer shall make any deduction from the pay or other remuneration of any such elector or impose upon or exact from him any penalty by reason of his absence during such period.
2. This section shall extend to employees of the successor company as defined in section 2 of the Railways (Successor Company) Act 1991 [Act 464] and the Sabah Railway except such as are actually engaged in the running of trains and to whom such time cannot be allowed without interfering with the manning of the trains; and the General Manager, shall, in each case, be deemed to be the employer of such employees.
3. Any employer who, directly or indirectly, refuses, or by intimidation, undue influence, or in any manner, interferes with the granting to any elector in his employ, of a reasonable period for voting, as in this section provided, shall on summary conviction be liable to a fine of RM5,000.00 or to imprisonment for one (1) year.
In a more layman lingo, your employers will get into serious trouble if they forbid you from practicing your rights as a citizen of Malaysia, lest they will face charges.
Which brings us to question (c) and (d): Is it worth the rush? My vote don’t matter much, right?
Some youngsters and first time voters would probably think that their votes doesn’t matter nor it will make much impact to the overall system, so naturally everything about it is more or less a waste of time and effort. While politic-related matters can be complicated and bores the heck out of most of us, this should’t be an excuse for your to take our nation lightly as the future of Malaysia is literally in your hands. As how George Jean Nathan have word it:
“Bad officials are the ones elected by good citizens who do not vote”
Vote to make a change. For you. For your generation. For Malaysia.
Featured image source from here.