By Jedida Ravindran
I can come up with a host of reasons as to why I know very little about the Malaysian political system. Having chosen to remain largely apolitical, I shamelessly never registered to vote even though I have been eligible for over four years now. So, I was pleasantly surprised when a close friend of mine at AFS told me about an upcoming event, “Introduction to Malaysian Voter Rights”. With the whisper of a possible election around the corner, I figured that it was time I stopped making excuses and choose to educate myself on the topic from the comfort of my home away from home (in Hamburg, Germany).
During the Zoom call, the speaker Roshinee Mookaiah (Advocacy and Communications Manager at Undi189) started with a very interesting quiz to test how much we knew about a very basic topic, the Malaysian constitution and government structure. She then guided us through a series of interactive slides, and outlined the role of the three main institutions that govern Malaysia (the legislative, the executive and the judiciary). She detailed the responsibilities on a local level (including highlighting which representatives we could go to for support), and finally walked us through the electoral process.
Roshinee also highlighted how one could be an informed voter. Among these are committing to prior research, learning to differentiate between fact and fiction and being on the lookout for political rhetoric and symbolism. She was joined by her colleague Davina Devaranjan who took the opportunity to answer any questions that cropped up from the audience through the chatbox; making it an even more informative and interactive session!
Inspired by the talk, I immediately set out to crystallize my learnings. I did not know that it was as easy as filling in my details online and snapping a picture of myself and my IC, but indeed it was. I can now proudly say that I am a registered voter. I am so looking forward to exercising my right as a Malaysian citizen at the next election! You too can register to vote online via https://mysprdaftar.spr.gov.my And to find out more about what Roshinee, Davina and the team are up to at Undi18, head to https://undi18.org/