Wouldn’t it be great if the people are allowed to choose their own leaders? Do you remember the night of the election where we sit in front of our television with our family anticipating which party has won and is given the power to govern Malaysia into a brighter future? Although going through a change in the parliament is quite a tedious process, we can all agree that the election day will be the highlight of the whole event.
What Is Election Day In Malaysia All About?
Our first election happened in 1959, where Malaysia was known as Malaya. Since then, the election was done every five years. In the year 1963, Malaysia was formed with the merging of Sabah and Sarawak.
Elections in Malaysia since 1963 comprise the federation of Malaysia. Currently, Malaysia’s election always comprises 2 levels which are the federal level the state levels. Federal level election means to elect the Dewan Rakyat members and the lower house of the parliament. Dewan Rakyat has 222 House Representatives members, and the catch is that the party that has the majority House of Representatives will form the federal government. The Prime Minister will be elected from the House of Representatives with the majority votes.
On the other hand, voters will elect representatives to the State Legislative Assembly or known as Dewan Undangan Negeri at the state level. The number of representatives varies between different states as they are based on the population number.
Although the federal level must dissolve every five years, the state-level election can be held simultaneously with the parliamentary level or the states can decide to hold their election respectively. But fortunately, the traditional practice is for most state assemblies to be dissolved at the same time as Parliament, except for Sabah and Sarawak, although these two states had held elections simultaneously with the rest of the state, as it is the case for Sabah in elections post-1999 and Sarawak in the 1969 and 1974 elections.
Things to Do During Election Day in Malaysia
Here’s a step by step how to go through your election day as a Malaysian
- Read up and be informed of candidates verifying for your vote to make an informed decision.
- Arrive early. While traffic and peak hours may depend on your particular polling station, please don’t wait until the last minute before doors close. Voting hours are generally from 8 am to 5 pm.
- Make sure there is no mark of indelible ink on your left index finger — or you might not get to vote.
- Be patient, wait in line. (Bring a hand fan or you can just sweat it out)
- Bring official identification. Accepted documentation includes your MyKad. Malaysian passport, a receipt for a Temporary Identification Card with a photograph, receipt of a report for Loss of Identification Card report with photograph (JPN 1/11) certified by the National Registration Department, Driving License with photograph or Authority Card with photograph issued by a government department.
- Show your identification document to the EC booth to check your name on the electoral roll and get the Stream Number Slip before going to the specified stream to cast your vote.
- Mark an ‘X’ next to the name of the candidate, party or symbol of choice.
- Drop your votes into the respective Parliament and State Assembly boxes.
- Ask for help if you or someone you’re with is physically disabled or visually impaired, who will be allowed to be accompanied by one entrusted person (Malaysian citizen above 21 years old) to help. Please check with EC officials on duty for arrangements.
- Make your exit after casting your ballot.
- Report any problems or irregularities.
- Tell your friends who have yet to vote, and make sure you encourage them to do their part too.
- And please do listen to the instructions of EC officials.
- Congratulations, you have just executed your duty as a responsible Malaysian.
How Election Day in Malaysia is Celebrated
In Malaysia, it is common to hear that election day is full of riots and even ‘blackouts’ where we don’t think it’s the right way to treat election day.
Election day should be celebrated with a celebration of a great new beginning to help Malaysia grow into a strong nation. Besides, it should also be a day where Malaysians celebrate a day of equality, just and fairness of our democratic system. Election day should be introduced to our younger generation. They will learn from the young that we as Malaysians should support a democratic system that is transparent and fair to all Malaysians.
Venues and Special Events for Celebrating Election Day in Malaysia
There may be many ways to celebrate Election Day.
- We can do it in our public stadiums where we can have a carnival throughout the day for all where people can relax and enjoy themselves before we all go back and anticipate the results that night.
- There can be refreshments given during the long wait before Malaysians get to their turn to vote.
- If the government can declare the following day an official public holiday for all irrespective of which party wins the election, it would be a win for all, especially those working and volunteering to make the election day so smooth.