9 May 2018 is voting day for Malaysia’s 14th General Election (#GE14).
My wife and I have been talking about how we would vote. Since this is our first time voting, we want to make sure that we kick start with the proper mindset. As such, I have compiled a few tips for myself.
I am sharing them here today, hopefully you can benefit from them too.
Tip #1: Don’t Follow Your Parents
Right off the bat, it is understandable that we would have the tendency to follow our parents’ footsteps when it comes to putting the X on the ballot. After all, many of us are raised with the bias of being negative to one party and being positive to another party.
This is not to say that we should blame our parents. This is completely normal. We all have our own biases and it is quite impossible to be completely free of them. We are not robots. We are human beings after all.
But, the best thing that we can do to make sure that our biases don’t affect us that much, especially in GE14, is to be aware of them and then to have an open mind about the other party. It is best not to label them as your enemy, because that in itself is a sure way to stop any productive conversation from happening.
Aren’t we all Malaysians?
Tip #2: Don’t Be a Fanatic
If you want to support a particular party, that’s okay. But don’t be a fanatic about it and strictly identify yourself with that one party. You will end up being biased towards that party in almost anything they do.
There is a tendency to focus more on the positive sides of the party and to ignore the negatives.
The thing is, there is no such thing as a perfect party. So with each election, try your best to empty your plate and start from scratch. Listen to all and listen well. It is possible that the party more suitable to lead is not the party that you previously voted for.
Tip #3: Study Your Politicians
Perhaps it is Malaysia’s election style to focus too much on the party, then on the actual individuals that we will vote on 9 May 2018. For example, the place where I am voting has more pictures of the party’s leaders than of the candidates in my area.
I know that I am still new in this arena, but this doesn’t make sense to me. Of course, I do understand that the party will eventually administer the county. But, I am going to vote on the person who will represent me.
So, I need to know the person more than I need to know the party.
I need to know his/her background, qualifications, track record, and anything that could help me decide whether or not the person is suitable for a job. It is like choosing a person for your company. The person might be representing a group, but you should focus more on the person rather than the group, right?
Similarly, although I know that the person running for office will represent a political party, but that doesn’t mean that the person is the party. All parties will make positive promises in their manifestos, but it will be the individuals’ responsibility to turn promises into reality.
Tip #4: Study The Manifestos
I know it’s a lot. Each manifesto looks like a text book and hardly anyone I know likes to read text books. But if you believe that the future of this country is important, then you should spend some time to read the manifestos, from each party.
Like I mentioned before, all the manifestos will have positive promises in them. That’s a given. What I want to figure out from each manifesto is this: what is the mindset of this particular party? This mindset will be the blueprint of the entire administration and every decision and policy that will be made will reflect that mindset.
So, it is key that I understand what they are fighting for.
Tip #5: Choose For All Malaysians
This is another bias that we have: We only think about ourselves. That is not to say that we are evil. That is simply a statement that says that we are normal. It is normal to look out for yourself and the people you associate with (your family, your race, your religious group, etc).
But this election is about Malaysia, not just about you. So try your best to think about other people as well. When reading the manifesto or studying about the politicians, think about all the people that they will represent, including the minorities.
Think about what would be best for all people in this great nation, no matter who they are.
Tip #6: Pray
Let’s face it. We don’t know what the future holds. We don’t know if we make the right choice or not. What we do know is the effort we put in before making our choice. That alone is good enough and it is all that God is asking of us.
God doesn’t ask us to predict the future. God asks us to do our best.
So for GE14, let’s do our best to lower our biases, be fair to all, study the politicians and the parties well, and vote for all Malaysians. The rest, leave it to God. For Muslims our there, I invite you to perform the Istikharah prayer to assist you in your decision making process.
All the Best!
Those are the 6 tips that I will be holding on to for this election and for any upcoming elections in the future. It’s not perfect, since I am only a newbie in this arena. So I invite any suggestions in the comment section down below for me to improve these tips.
p/s: If you still haven’t booked your tickets yet for GE14, I suggest you do it quick. Click here to book your bus tickets online.