Low turnouts not a measure of patriotism

Opinion  |  Phar Kim Beng
Published:  |  Modified:

COMMENT | The electoral turnouts for the three recent by-elections - Sungai Kandis, Seri Setia and Balakong - averaged at less than 50 percent in each constituency and are indeed the lowest since 2009.

The Star, which reported the above, is right on this fact but flawed on the national narrative altogether. Why?

Let's assume GE15 is next month or, in fact, next week and the stakes once again are the fate of Malaysia, Malaysia Incorporated and Malaysia within the context of a China-dominated East Asia.

Would Malaysians be lulled into a slumber, still, and not show up (at the polls) beyond a threshold of 83 percent as was the case on May 9?

The answer to the hypothetical question above, without a shadow of a doubt, is a loud “no” on all three scores.

Now, why would the hypothetical question, which is an exercise in mental deduction, lead to such a resounding and obvious answer? There are many reasons, but it is enough to offer just six of them.

First and foremost, Malaysians have proven, time and again as in 1968, 1978, 1988, 1998, and indeed in 2008 and in 2018, that when push comes to shove, they are determined to set the country on the right course. In fact, every 10 years since 1957, patriotic sentiments have always been at an all-time high.

By-elections that cannot change the overall pattern of the general elections are considered a national bore. Voters want their votes to count. They want their votes to move the proverbial needle, period...

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