Finally the wait is over. The Elections Commission met today and fixed nomination date as April 20 (Saturday) and polling (voting) date as May 5 (Sunday) that is 2 weeks later. On surface this looks like a good arrangement. Eligible Malaysian voters will have no excuse not to cast their votes, including those residing overseas, especially Singapore. Air Asia can do national service by offering special and even additional flights between Singapore and Kuala Lumpur for the May 4-5 weekend to help Malaysians return to vote in this crucial election in which maximum turnout is desirable to defeat the impact of phantom voters. Those who drive, the numbers are not expected to be large as many voters would have registered their current residential addresses rather than those of their home towns or kampongs, should leave early to avoid possible jams. And for most voters whose polling stations are near make it a point to be there early as the queues are expected to be longer this time with additional delays caused by the application of indelible ink on the left index fingers of voters. Be extra careful not to smear the ballot papers. Be vigilant not to accept marked ballot papers which can be disqualified.
The impact on Christians will be direct as polling is on Sunday which is the day of worship for most churches. Three scenarios can take place: status quo in which Christians go to vote immediately after services if these are in the morning, skip church which is not advisable as being the first Sunday many churches also hold communion services, or change the time of worship to Saturday. There is enough time to make special arrangements to help as many Christians as possible fulfill their constitutional responsibilities.
Monday, May 6, should be declared a special public holiday as it is likely many voters will stay up late to follow the results as they are announced. I will surely be among them. Just as it was on March 8, 2008, I will again be logged into popular news portals that report 'live' from the various counting stations around the nation. This time the number of sites that provide this service will probably be no less than 5 times the number in 2008.
Bookies will have a field day taking bets on who will be the winner. It will be a tough fight but I don't discount a runaway victory by Pakatan. Anyway I am excited and will be logged in to my favorite online news channels to follow the outcome of this fiercely fought election in our 55 years history.
Whoever is the winner let's do the Malaysian thing. Be humble in defeat and charitable in victory. Let no violence or anger take control. If there is going to be a change, change peacefully. Don't destroy confidential records and minutes. Help the new government move into office smoothly. Show the world that in spite of all the spins and rumor mongering we are able to close one chapter of our young history and start a new one without any disturbances. Like a boxing match let it be fought above the belt and when the final whistle is blown accept the result with grace.
May God bless Malaysia as she enters this 13th GE.