Why only 8.48%?

By Lim Mun Fah, MySinChew

The direct election of the PKR carries exemplary significance as it is the first time being held in Malaysia.

However, the voter turnout so far remains as low as 8.48%. People are surprised and puzzled over it.

According to an analysis, there are three main factors for the low voter turnout. Firstly, some division leaders do not participate in the central election. They are not interested as it does not involve their personal interests. And thus, they take no initiative to encourage division members to vote. Secondly, some division elections have been postponed due to disputes, causing members tired of the election and lose their enthusiasm to vote. Thirdly, most PKR members are nonactive members. They joined the PKR either because of the two-party-system or being asked to join by their friends. Such kind of members are not politically ambitious and they are not interested at all in the infighting. They do not even bother to participate.

In addition to the above mentioned factors, another factor would be the election period of 23 days (from 30 October to 21 November) is too long. It is difficult for the members to keep their enthusiasm.

Elections always involve the question of human and material resources, as well as technical issues. After all, it is the first direct election in the country and many problems surface only when the process goes on. Therefore, it is understandable to find some flaws along the election process. Most importantly, its democratic spirit and social significance, as well as its impact to the Malaysian political environment is still positive and desirable.

In a democratic society, different elections carry different significances. A major election always play the role of a historical turning point that causes a new power distribution pattern to a political party or even a government. It will then affect the future direction of the party or the government. Therefore, elections always involve a bottom-up mobilisation and a low voter turnout will more or less reflect the loyalty and enthusiasm of party members, and the political weakness of immaturity.