Profile of a #undirosak

Let me start by saying that I have been advocating #undirosak even before it became trendy on social media. So, you know where I stand on this issue.

I’ve been reading all sorts of news articles and comments about the ongoing campaign (if you can call it that) on social media. I don’t presume to know everyone who supports it but a lot of remarks have been hurled at this group of people. Instead of trying to justify things, I thought that I would like to share a profile of one such person, myself.

I started voting in GE11 in 2004.

However, I was denied my right to vote in GE12 in 2008. I was a government scholar studying full-time overseas and tried to register as a postal voter in 2007. I chronicled it in my blog at the time. I couldn’t accept my government arbitrarily denying me my constitutionally and legally protected right to vote.

So, when I returned home after graduation, I was fired up about elections and was determined to do my best to ensure that no one else would ever be denied this right. This led me to lodge a formal complaint and present documentary evidence to the Parliamentary Select Committee on electoral reforms in 2011.

Today, Malaysians who study abroad are all given the opportunity to vote by post. Please do not waste it. I would like to think that I had played a small role in fighting for this fundamental right and allowing all our fellow Malaysians who still care about the nation, even when residing abroad, to vote.

However, we still had many Malaysians at home who weren’t even registered voters. So, I did what I could. I volunteered to help with voter registration. You might have heard me shouting at the pasar malam each week. I signed up thousands (possibly more than 10k) of voters in the years leading up to GE13. I was even appointed an Assistant Registrar to the Election Commissions until my license expired in 2013.

To facilitate my work, I even wrote a simple software application to check (in mass) the status of a voters registration against the SPR website. I also contributed a script to read the MyKAD directly so that we can easily capture the information needed to register a voter to reduce the reject rate of their applications (as the SPR would reject applications whose information does not correspond to their MyKAD data).

However, I wasn’t done yet.

When parliament was dissolved for GE13, I opened my cheque book and donated to the opposition candidates running, whom I felt needed the support, as they were fighting an uphill battle. I even convinced my friends and relatives to open up their cheque books too as the battle needed a lot of funding.

In addition, I took two weeks of leave right up to polling day to volunteer with two constituencies that needed more man-power, enduring several sleepless nights in the process. Towards the end, I ended up helping to organise and manage the PACA for two districts and we had some of the largest districts in the nation.

On polling day itself, I went from polling station to station to check on the PACA whom I had assigned to make sure that things were going smoothly. That night, I was diligently checking and keying in results as they came in from our PACA. Finally, I joined in the celebrations in the hall where the EC announced our winning candidate. Another night without sleep.

I’m not someone who doesn’t care about our democracy. I am not someone who is uninformed about our politics. I am not an armchair critic nor keyboard warrior. I am not someone who doesn’t understand how flawed and unfair our system is.

I know. I have been a victim.

When it comes to elections, I have given money, time, blood, sweat and tears. I have fought for our rights. I have gone to the ground and done the hard work. I have even contributed software source code so others can benefit.

Oh, I forgot to mention that on the morning of the GE13 polling day itself, even though I barely had two hours of sleep the night before, I woke up, went to the polling station, queued and cast my ballot.

This GE14, I will definitely cast my ballot again and cast it with a clear conscience.


Published by

Shawn Tan

Chip Doctor, Chartered/Professional Engineer, Entrepreneur, Law Graduate.

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