I’ve never understood people who claimed they didn’t care about politics. These were the same people who I saw confused politics with the in-fighting among political parties.
I was raised to be aware of the political environment and climate around me, and when I got accepted into university to pursue a degree in the field of social sciences, I truly understood what politics is really about, and what it can do – how it drives all of our decisions, both big and small, and how it influences our circumstances and shapes our future.
As I grew up, I became increasingly tired of reading the news and finding out, for the millionth time, that an elected Member of Parliament was being discriminatory against ethnic minorities, females, and youths.
I became increasingly tired of constantly hoping and praying that our ruling party, who had reigned for over six decades, would stand by their promises, making significant change and propelling our nation forward.
I was getting increasingly tired of oppression of freedoms; freedom of speech, freedom of the press.
And most of all, I was tired of there being a severe lack of check-and-balance, fairness, and equality in this country.
I would talk to my friends and family about it, speak out against it, but deep down, I knew that all this was for naught if I did not register myself as a voter.
Yesterday, I finally walked the talk by casting my first vote at Malaysia’s 14th General Elections, at the ripe age of 25.
It wasn’t easy; polling day was on a Wednesday and it happened to be on the same day as the Bruno Mars 24K Magic Tour Live in Kuala Lumpur, a concert I had been looking forward to since 2016; but I knew that the fate of my country would always take precedence over any celebrity.
As I was queuing to cast my vote in my hometown, I looked around me and saw all the youths and elderly who inconvenienced themselves and went out of their way to make sure that they were agents of change. It was a true show of solidarity, people of all ages who cast their vote for a chance to be heard, in hopes of shaping a future that’s theirs and only theirs.
Within half an hour, I was done, and headed back to Kuala Lumpur.
After wrapping up at the concert, my eyes were peeled on my phone, computer, and television, making sure that I was up-to-date with the latest news. I stayed up till 4am to learn that finally – my voice mattered, and my voice made a difference. My voice, as a first-time voter, along with other youths’, not only challenged, but also broke the 60-year status quo, and my eyes welled up with tears realising that.
Today, I woke up to a new future ahead of me – and it felt like the next five years would be a heavy burden lifted off all our shoulders. I understand that reversing six decades worth of damage would take more than five years, but nothing brings me more joy than knowing that Malaysians are now, for lack of a better term; woke.
I look forward to seeing what Pakatan Harapan can do for us within the next 5 years; starting from more female representation in Parliament (cheers to DS Wan Azizah!), especially in implementing policies that concern us.
I look forward to the rise of equality and the feminist movement within the government; freedom of the press, and freedom of speech. I look forward to the day we can finally speak out against wrongdoing without fear of being persecuted.
To all those who volunteered and spent the day at the polling stations, journalists who worked tirelessly throughout the night, and Malaysians who travelled near and far to cast their vote, I thank you.
To our previous government, I’m neither sad nor sorry to see you go, but I do feel that this is the perfect lesson for you to take us more seriously from now on if you want to regain your former glory.
To our newly-elected officials and representatives, I look forward to a fruitful partnership with you over the next five years. I hope you do right on us and don’t turn your backs on us. Remember – power to the people.