Sunday, May 5, 2013


GE13: Malaysians abroad are coming back to cast their ballot

Coming back from his holidays: Tan Eong Xien is taking a break from his travels to come home for GE13.Coming back from his holidays: Tan Eong Xien is taking a break from his travels to come home for GE13.
UNLIKE previous general elections, Malaysians who are working and studying overseas are coming home to cast
their votes.
Armed with a burning desire to fulfil their civic duty, most of them planned their travels as soon as the polling date was announced.
For Malaysians on this shared mission, distance and money spent on travelling were not a deterrence.
Penangite Tan Chin Chean paid about RM2,000 for his return air tickets from Hong Kong to Kuala Lumpur.
The decision to return home from Hong Kong, where he is on a temporary secondment, was made without any hesitation.
“Why shouldn’t I come home? I am a Malaysian through and through. In fact, I was ashamed that I missed the last GE,” the 27-year-old actuary consultant said.
Former IT consultant Tan Eong Xien, 26, is currently on a vacation after resigning from his previous job.
Since postal voting is only available to those staying abroad, he worked around his travel schedule and made time to come home in May.
Nadia is driving back to Alor Setar, Kedah, on Friday evening.Nadia is driving back to Alor Setar, Kedah, on Friday evening.
Thanks to AirAsia, Tan managed to grab a cheap air ticket and will be flying in from Chengdu.
“Most of my peers believe in the democratic system and are confident that we have the power to decide our nation’s future.
“My insistence on being part of GE13 is strong,” he said.
Yap Qian Yan is spending AUS$500 (RM1,600) for return flights and coach travel from Canberra, Australia.
She is taking five days off from her studies and her PhD supervisor has been very supportive of her decision.
“I am very excited about this GE because I can finally exercise my right as a Malaysian citizen to vote for the betterment of the country I care deeply for. I feel that every single vote will make a difference in this GE,” said the 26-year-old medical research PhD scholar from the Australian National University.
Malaysians working in Singapore are also ready to cross the Causeway this weekend and get back to their homeland to vote.
Soo Wai Kit, 28, is coming back by coach on Saturday night and his return tickets by bus cost SGD$60 (RM150).
“I cannot afford to take more leave, so I am leaving Kuala Lumpur after casting my vote,” the specialist teaching associate said.
Tan Khar Mang will be voting for the first time in Ipoh.Tan Khar Mang will be voting for the first time in Ipoh.
Chan Zi Xiang, who is working as an actuary in Singapore, will be taking three days off work to come back and catch a few ceramahbefore May 5.
Despite being miles away from Malaysia, our countrymen abroad keep abreast of the election news through online portals and social media sites in order to make an informed choice.
Chan took a step further by attending a ceramah in Johor Baru during the campaign period to experience the hype.
“I ended up volunteering to help the organisers, and then accompanying the candidate on his walkabouts the next morning.
“The experience gave me an insider’s look into what the candidates go through on their campaign trail,” Chan, 28, said.
There are many reasons why Malaysians leave the country, but they are sometimes deemed less patriotic. However, those who are coming back to vote beg to differ.
Soo, who has been studying and then working in the Lion City for the past 10 years, said he stayed on because he loves how the country is run.
Has he considered giving up his Malaysian citizenship?
“I am considering it, but I am not doing it just yet because of my love for a lot of things Malaysian.
Chan is
taking three
days off to
come back
for GE13.Homeward bound: Chan is taking three days off to come back for GE13.
“I am proud of be a Malaysian — I carry with me a background of multiculturalism. I love the greenery in the country, I love the food and still miss it all the time,” he said.
Chan, on the other hand, has not once considered renouncing his citizenship as he still feels a sense of pride to be a Malaysian.
He started working in Singapore in 2010 when an attempt to obtain a JPA scholarship to pursue his postgraduate studies in the UK was unsuccessful.
“I was waiting for my Australian permanent residency visa to be approved and then the job offer from Singapore came.
“In the interim, I also interviewed for actuarial positions in Kuala Lumpur, but either I didn’t quite fit their requirements, or the culture and remuneration packages offered were not competitive,” he said.
He harbours hopes of returning to Malaysia one day as an entrepreneur.
“Singapore offers a higher standard of living with a lower cost of living, but the earning power of an employee in Malaysia is far from being comparable to what Singapore can offer,” he offered.
Yap said she did not rule out the possibility of becoming a permanent resident in Australia as it grants better job opportunities, additional benefits and health care.
However, she will not give up her Malaysian citizenship.
Tay said she was passionate to fulfil her responsibility as a citizen.Tay said she was passionate to fulfil her responsibility as a citizen.
“This is because Malaysia is my homeland and most of my family members are still living there,” he said.
Among those who are returning home are first-time voters who are eager to mark “X” on the ballot papers.
Chin Suk Teng, a 24-year-old un-dergraduate at the National University of Singapore, is looking forward to participating in the election for the first time.
“Before this, I had a couldn’t-care-less attitude and I did not see how one vote would affect the outcome of the election.
“But as the election draws closer, I realise that GE13 has received so much attention from both Malaysians and foreigners throughout the world. And so, I decided it was time for me to contribute my small effort to my country,” she said.
Meanwhile, many Malaysians are also travelling within the country to get back to their home states this weekend.
Gwendlyn Paul, who is working as a sales executive in Kuala Lumpur, planned to hit the road at about 2am on Saturday to return to Johor Baru.
“This is to avoid the possible traffic congestion,” the 27-year-old said.
Nadia Sulaiman, 27, is hoping that the traffic would be manageable when she drives back to Alor Setar, Kedah, on Friday evening.
“It took me 13 hours to reach Alor Setar during Hari Raya! I am keeping my fingers crossed that the traffic is good this time,” she said.
The public relations executive added that it was too late to change her voting constituency to Kuala Lumpur.
To escape from the traffic jam, Pauline Tay has already gone back to Johor by bus last Friday.
“I feel passionate to fulfil my responsibility as a citizen. My parents had set a fine example — they have never missed voting in an election,” the freelance filmmaker said.
Master’s degree student Tan Khar Mang, 24, spent RM22 to purchase a bus ticket to go back to Ipoh, Perak, from Kuala Lumpur to vote.
“I am excited to cast my vote for the first time. This is our chance of expressing our opinion for the country,” she said.
Lecturer and ophthalmologist Assoc Prof Dr Sushil Vasudevan forked out about RM400 for his return tickets from Kuala Lumpur to Johor to cast his ballot.
“It is my sincere belief that Malaysians have the obligation to vote for peace and stability of our nation,” he said.
The 46-year-old added that he has done his homework to check out the candidates standing in his area to make sure that he chooses awakil rakyat who can walk the talk.

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