Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Fear stalks Sarawak's new voters

Musa Anak Ngog

COMMENT As I work closely with NGOs and relevant bodies in Sarawak to register new voters, I found something unique in their goodwill and sincerity to change Sarawak's political landscape.
When we knocked from one door to another to ask whoever was 21 years old and above to register themselves as voters, I said to one of the volunteers that “it is so fortunate that we come to force the people to make a change”. And we all laughed.
In the Dayak Bidayuh areas, I found it difficult to change the mindset of the youths toward change. I have yet to find a relevant statistic and report on the number young voters and their trend in Sarawak, but what I've found in the electoral roll from the Election Commission is that there are only 10 to 20 registered young voters in the Tarat constituency.
That is only the average compared to thousands of youths in Tarat. The number of newly-registered voters is discouraging, while the current affairs of Malaysian politics is getting severe.
From my experience, along my political cause for almost three years now, the scenario of youth involvement in Sarawak's politics indicates two assumptions.
Firstly, youths do not participate in voting and politics because politics is to them about corruption and that whoever takes power will do the same in governance.
To vote is to participate in corruption and to be in politics is a waste of time. Almost six out of 10 youths gave the same verbal feedback during my visits and social media conversations.
Should they believe in such a mentality and escape from their obligations for a better country? Shall we let corruption and bad governance take place and continue on?
I see that it is failure in the system of the politics and government that has caused corrupt politicians to be in power. Somehow, I cannot blame those who are in power but I look at myself closely as a medium of change as per one singe vote to decide over my country's fate.
Not changing is fatal
Secondly, fear is is greater than dreams for a better future. As we knock on the doors and speak to the youngsters about the importance of voting and why they have to register, I see fear in them.
The worst case would be if their houses are nearby to the village head's house and their parents are working as government servants.
The hardest thing to change in people's minds is to ask them to live and struggle for what tomorrow could bring. They reply: “My father (or my mother) is a teacher/a nurse/a clerk/a village head. I don't dare to let them down and make them lose their jobs if we support the opposition.”
We then ask them to register as voters and not support the opposition parties if they don't want to. But I see people start to 'fear' me, including my family members and relatives.
Not because I look like a monster or angel but because of my political views and whom am I working with. Things changed within the family circle tremendously after I told them about my political struggle.
And so it happens in every village whenever I and the team come to for a visit. I don't have any idea how people look at me with the political party shirt or uniform that I wear whenever we moving around.
This is the obvious political mindset that influences the way of life in Sarawak and even a family relationship, which should be above the political mindset, is not.
Change is difficult, not changing is fatal. We cannot change the country by having street protests. We cannot change the country by killing the president. We cannot change the country by keyboard and keypad.
We can change the country with the vote and that is the fundamental element in saving the future of a dying country from the a tyrannical, corrupt government with an obsolete political agenda.
Change the system. Vote for your future. You can make a difference.

MUSA ANAK NGOG describes himself as potential candidate for the Tarat constituency in the forthcoming Sarawak elections.

Read more: https://www.malaysiakini.com/news/314656#ixzz3nligUJcY

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