The last 18 hours starting at 7am yesterday morning until midnight last night was the most critical time in the 15th general election as it was the time for each candidate to make the final sprint to the ‘finish line’.
They must have a very strong mentality and spirit at this time, before the candidate’s campaign rallies would automatically stop at 12am.
Precisely at 12.01am, it is an offence for any candidate and representative of the candidates to openly appeal for votes from the public.
Soon after, the most thrilling moment would arrive, because at 7.30 am today, the voting process begins.
Therefore, those last 18 hours or so should be used as best as possible for each candidate to make the final push.
It is at this time that many voters who are on the fence, including the 129,034 new voters in Sarawak, would move to analyse each candidate who is running for Parliament.
This is when they examine everything that was offered by the candidates for the past 14 days as a reference. Some would even look for manifestos, brochures and posters of competing candidates, especially from the challengers.
Even for die-hard voters, they will re-examine every personal detail, character and the offers given by any candidate before making up their minds, whether to choose a candidate, or choose a party, or both. Some might even look at who the party leader is before voting.
The fact is, most of the voters who go to vote today (November 19) are those who are educated. Therefore, they are more mature and wise before carrying out that democratic responsibility.
In Sarawak at the moment, the issue of who becomes the Prime Minister is not as big an issue as in Malaya. That is why the people are more interested in the offers of candidates and competing parties.
The writer is lucky because in this election, he was able to go to many fields, and even met many candidates – both from the government and the opposition.
They come from diverse backgrounds, including new faces, young and old. There are no fewer candidates who refused to be interviewed and some who disappeared under the radar.
The writer has also listened to the candidate’s aspirations, reasons and assessed their credibility during the campaign period.
In this general election, the campaign was done in a hybrid way; face-to-face with the candidates and using social media platforms, in addition to the poster war unlike during the last state election, when there were obstacles in conducting physical campaigning – which gave the incumbent an advantage.
It is actually very disadvantageous for those who only know that their name was raised as a candidate at the last minute, because it presents too little time to introduce themselves.
This self-introduction activity should have happened much longer before that, especially by new candidates.
Therefore, in these final hours, for those who have made the mistake of insulting, scolding, slandering and lying during the campaign, delete it. It will be a reference by the voters who are unsure who to vote for this polling day.
Sarawak will see more than 1.9 million eligible voters fulfill their duty as citizens. Of that number, 722,114 are new voters.
Based on a survey, many are excited to vote as it is their responsibility to the country. It can be seen that many people return home just for this opportunity that comes once every five years.
This is what all Malaysians really need to do. They need to vote so that the country does not have the wrong leader.
We do not want any more dark episodes that saw three Prime Ministers appointed in one election term being repeated. We want the people to decide the Prime Minister, not just members of parliament and political blocs like before.
We also need to elect a government that thinks about the people, not playing and fighting about politics all the time. Because, in the next two years, the country will face a tough economic situation – which requires wisdom and expertise among its leaders.
The country also needs young and efficient leaders, who can ensure that the country is on the right path, stable and developed.
By the night of November 19, the excitement will peak because at this point who will be the new government will be the reckoning. Will Barisan Nasional (BN) be able to maintain its hold on the government? Or will it be Pakatan Harapan (PH), or Perikatan Nasional (PH).
Most people consciously expect a new coalition to be formed in national politics, because based on the campaign, it does not appear that there is a party that can win enough seats to form the government on its own.
It’s just that the formula for the new government is yet to be determined and whether it will remain stable, or still chaotic as before – even though all the manifestos promise a strong, stable and prosperous government
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New Sarawak Tribune is a Sarawakian news portal that highlights Sarawak-centric news and other stories of relevance to Sarawak.
Today, New Sarawak Tribune focuses on happenings in Sarawak’s cities, towns and small places no matter how remote these are and events of relevance in other states of Malaysia and other countries.