Friday, July 13, 2012

Postal voters - Fashionable to be Malaysians when abroad...

And so the Elections Commission (EC) is studying a proposal to allow all Malaysians overseas to cast their ballots by post.

They may be able to do so, but not without a caveat - they must return to the country at least once every five years before the general election.

Currently, only full-time Malaysian students and their spouses as well as civil servants and their spouses who are based abroad are allowed to apply to be postal voters.

Perhaps, good of EC to consider that, but not good enough.

Once every five years is not realistic. If ever, they must be made to be more responsible and show how committed and loyal they are to the country.

By merely declaring to all and sundry, especially to people in their borrowed country of abode is definitely insufficient.

As it is, under most circumstances given the simmering feeling of belonging to Malaysia while living in a foreign country, it is always expected that Malaysians abroad would proudly declare that they are Malaysians – never mind that in reality the life and mind-set is completely detached from the realities at home.

To them, Malaysia, the place they call home due to the absence of other places that they can readily identify with, is a place to return for a leisure sabbatical or to just ‘balik kampong.’

Do they really feel the heartbeat of the nation? Perhaps, many of them will readily stress that they are staunchly patriotic, although their ‘lifeline’ to Malaysia would, invariably, be only virtual through the web.

It is also from the web that they cull biased information and form a desperate overview of their motherland as fed by the recalcitrant opposition parties.

By attempting to compare the country’s situation with that of their borrowed homeland, they are quick to voice concern for the perceived lack of freedom – against the standards set in a foreign country with foreign culture and foreign world view.

To them, it is all about opening up to anything liberal in the west, and that is the way it should be in Malaysia – no apologies or compromises.

It is just like a fellow Malaysian going back to their kampong and suddenly be possessed with a ‘holier-than-thou’ attitude about things being practised there. The sheer snobbery that they have inculcated for so long living in the cities have made them incessant complainants of just about anything.

Back to the issue at hand, there have been suggestions that overseas Malaysians who are to be allowed to vote must be made to visit the country more often – at least once every two or three years minimum as opposed to the mooted 5 years by the EC. They also must have properties here and pay taxes in Malaysia.

This must be addressed, as we do not want to see tens of thousands of citizens in name, but do not share our important concerns and experiences to determine our fates.

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