Power in the voters’ hands

Yesterday was not a public holiday in Malaysia, no matter how many wished for it ahead of the elections in six states – Kedah, Penang, Selangor, Negeri Sembilan, Kelantan, and Terengganu.

They had hoped for a repeat of the 15th General Election that saw then caretaker prime minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob declare public holidays on Nov 18 and 19 to allow voters to return home to vote.

After the results, incoming prime minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim announced Nov 28 as another public holiday to celebrate Pakatan Harapan’s (PH) return to power. No such luck this time, although there might still be state holidays, depending on the results.

PH was in power in Penang, Selangor, and Negeri Sembilan, while PN ruled Kedah, Kelantan, and Terengganu.

There were those who travelled to their home states yesterday to exercise their constitutional right to vote, even though it was a working day. Others are expected to head home by road, rail, and even air, today.

I am among them, as my mother, 84, will cast her vote in Seremban. So, we will drive to Negeri Sembilan’s capital after I vote in Subang Jaya.

For the first time, I would be happy if there was a traffic jam, as that could mean other voters are heading there to cast their votes.

On Thursday, highway concessionaire Plus Malaysia Bhd stated it anticipated traffic to increase to 1.9 million vehicles per day on the North-South Expressway before, during, and after the state polls.

Much was said during the past 14 days of intense campaigning. The candidates have shed plenty of sweat, created lots of noise, and made lavish promises to their electorates.

Some have vowed to settle the traffic woes in their constituencies, address the lack of parking bays, and curbing the stray animal population, while others are on a ‘green wave’ – environmentally, not politically – to fight climate change, recycle more, and have more green lungs in their constituencies.

Whether they can deliver on these promises remains to be seen, but it is up to us as voters to judge the candidates on their own merits.

Some candidates raised racial and religious issues, and even tried to drag in the royal institution into their fracas. There was even a debate on national television on Wednesday, with both camps claiming victory.

The power is in the voters’ hands. You decide your future. Vote wisely.

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