How do you vote your conscience?

I’ve heard these comments before: if every politician and political party is bad in Malaysia, who do i vote for? The outlook seems bleak, the pessimism very real. Consider the following:

Your constituency is being contested by BN and PR via their component parties, UMNO and PAS. You want to vote for PR, but you feel very strongly against the PAS agenda of the Islamic state (brought up again by PAS Youth this week). Do you vote for the the PAS rep because you want your vote to count for PR?

Your constituency has been poorly managed by BN; drains are always clogged, road maintenance is poor, traffic congestion is a problem left unsolved. However, you believe strongly in the BN agenda, and you want them to continue ruling the nation. Do you vote for the incumbent?

You’re a racist bigot, and you feel that Malays must always control Malaysia, economically and politically. However, you’re also against corruption, and you feel that the size of the pie would be a lot larger (for Malays, especially) if we weeded out corruption from government and big business. The UMNO candidate is also a member of PERKASA so you feel that he will represent your need for Malay rule, however the PR candidate is from DAP, and promises to clean up corruption should PR come to power.

For some people, its not going to be an easy decision come GE13.

Do you vote for your ideals, do you vote for the man (or woman), do you vote for the party and ignore who the candidate is? Different people will approach this question differently. The one thing that i urge everyone to remember is that good people will be good people, regardless of their political party. Conversely, bad people will be bad, regardless of their party, even regardless of their faith. It’s a lot harder to tell the difference when it comes to the value of the respective parties.

The problem with BN is that they have been in power for a long time. A lot of good things have happened in this time, but also a lot of bad. Once you’ve accumulated a large history of bad, it offers a large and inviting target for political attack and social criticism. The claim that, “BN has been here since Independence and the country is still not where it should be” is a valid one.

The problem with PR is that sometimes we just don’t know who we’re voting for. Are we voting for the calm collectiveness of DAP, or the Islamic brand of politics in PAS, or the “reformasi” of PKR? They just seem so out of synch of each other with wildly different ideologies, histories and approaches. Say what you will about BN, but this is certainly not a problem that they have. A vote for any candidate from any BN component party is as good as a vote for BN. The same can’t be said about a vote for either DAP, PAS or PKR — are we really voting for PR?

The only advice i can give is for each of us to vote our conscience. Instead of getting bogged down by who is what and why is where, we should throw aside our political affiliations for a second and place our vote in what we feel will be best for the nation. Certainly, our definitions of that term will vary, but no one can blame you for getting it wrong if its done honestly. Perhaps then, there will be something to look forward to.

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3 thoughts on “How do you vote your conscience?

  1. You are correct to some extent.
    However, under current situation, especially in bn, a good man/woman would be drowned to death by too many bad men/women in a bad party (eg. OTK, Zaid). So the good man/woman would be left to no other options but to join the bad men/women in the bad party…and this is exactly what we don’t want to see!
    I admit I am a little bias in this comment but this is a fact. Agree?

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  2. for me it is very simple,
    the current government has ruled for 50yrs,
    and i can see how we progress,
    i believe we should do better for the last 30 yrs, i am ashame we fell so far behind singapore(who was opposing malaysia’s policies in many ways),
    i can’t help but to think the current government capability has reached the max,
    therefore, i will have to choose to vote out the current government,
    we have since wasted 50yrs, i am ready to gamble the next 5 yrs for the opposition if by any chance they can make malaysia better.
    i do believe no matter what, the newly formed government will try their best to out-perform the current ones. this will be very closely watch by the bn govt(opposition, if they lose). so we will bring out the best from both bn and pr.
    i am ready for ge13. and i will certainly gamble to vote bn out.

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  3. From what i’ve read in response to this article, here and on MT, there are many who follow the line of voting for the party, regardless of the candidate being fielded.
    This is a valid choice, and a common practice is parliamentary democracies.
    All i’m saying is that there are many ways to approach the casting of a vote — and the permutations can be a lot deeper than generally believed.
    How people cast their vote in a democracy has been the subject of discussion by minds much greater than mine, for a lot longer than any of us have been alive.
    Why are some constituencies considered “safe” by either party? Regardless of the candidate, the party will win because the people there vote the party, not the candidate.
    Why are some constituencies so hotly and closely contested? Take for example the case of Hulu Kelang. Azmin Ali from PKR won there handsomely in 2008. But the people there have turned into single issue voters, and will gladly vote Azmin out for failing to solve their constituent problem on housing.
    http://www.aizuddindanian.com/voi/2010/09/vote-selling-selling-my-vote-f.html
    Its obvious that how people cast their vote is NOT black and white. Just because it can be, doesn’t mean it always is.

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