I groaned as I woke up this morning as I have had little sleep for the whole week. However, I told myself that it was my duty to go attend the public hearing of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Electoral Reforms again, today. Took a quick shower, got into my yellow t-shirt, and drove off.
So, I arrived at the parliament office and met up with some familiar faces. On my way there, I had been contemplating on whether or not to speak and to tell my story. I made up my mind to speak, on the spot, after a friend of mine mentioned that, “while they may make a mockery of the whole thing, we must not make a mockery of the process.”
While I agreed that we should all do our part, I had to also bear in mind certain realities in this country. However, I just decided to let the cards fall where they may and this was the opportunity that I have been waiting for, all these years.
Luckily, I had brought my laptop with me. So, I began drafting my statement, in Malay, and gathered the necessary evidence to support my case. I ended up submitting my statement with 10-pages of email attachments to back up my story.
I have to thank my friend for lending me her broadband so that I could print out the emails. I have to also thank the Parliament secretariat for lending me their printer to print out my submission.
I spent the whole day sitting and listening to the various parties. Today was better than yesterday as they had provided a video broadcast of the proceedings in the next room. Therefore, all the people interested to listen, including journalists, were sitting in the room.
The most interesting and sparkly presentation was of course, by the Bersih representatives. We wasted precious minutes debating whether or not the “Bersih” submissions should be allowed, and whether or not the representatives could speak as individuals or as an unregistered organisation.
The audience in the listening room kept laughing at the antics of the PSC to stall and divert. However, the speakers generally kept their cool. As expected, it took a long time and by the time the committee broke for lunch, it was past 1.45pm.
I was scheduled to speak after lunch but due to some unexpected issues, I ended up being rescheduled to the back, which was fine by me. As long as I could say my piece, I would be the happiest man on earth, today.
Just before 5pm, I got my chance to speak. I read out my prepared statement, with some minor embellishments, and let it rip. Let’s just say that there were some small fireworks immediately after I spoke. The PSC demanded a formal response from the Elections Commission on the issues that I had raised.
Anyway, I have to say that I now rest my case on this issue. I have kept the evidence for so many years, just on the off-chance that I would be able to give it to someone who could do something with it. Today, I was presented the chance to do just that.
I would not have been at peace with myself if I did not take the opportunity given to speak and highlight to the Elections Commission the glaring disconnect between what they say and what actually happens on the ground. It would also have been a waste of my email storage all these years.
Finally, I would also like to thank the PSC for giving me the opportunity to get the story out. It has been burning inside for a long time. I will continue working hard to ensure that no other Malaysian would be disenfranchised of their right to vote – within Malaysia and without.
Thank you, PSC.