The state of Malaysians abroad
With a conservative estimate of the Malaysian diaspora abroad being around one million, and some experts citing evidence of it being closer to 1.5 million, there is every reason for all parties concerned to ensure that all Malaysians worldwide know that they need no longer be silent in matters of participating in the democratic process of their home country.
Following years of pressure from NGOs as well as PR component parties, the Election Commission finally conceded in allowing overseas Malaysian to vote at Malaysian Embassies and High Commission during this general elections. It is with this that Malaysian overseas, for the first time are given a significant voice. Although only 1,200 out of around 80,000 Malaysians voted at the Malaysian High Commission in London, it’s a significant start.
With the aforementioned, DAP calls upon all Malaysians abroad to ride on this wave of change, unperturbed by the results of the 13th GE, and join this peaceful revolution for a better Malaysia, that we have coined as UBAH NETWORKS.
What really happened in GE13?
In my Home State of Perak where Pakatan Rakyat was born, candidates from PR component parties managed to gain the trust and mandate from 54.7% of all those who voted, not to mention DAP successfully scoring a clean sheet of 7 out of 7 parliamentary seats contested and 18 out of 18 state assembly seats contested, with a whopping 72% majority support. Yet, with that landslide-like victory by ways of popular support, we were still denied a governing majority by ways of seats won in the state assembly.
Zoom out and widen the focus to the national legislative assembly, the august Parliament. For the first time in our national History, the incumbent political alliance failed to register a majority by ways of popular vote, with 51% of all voters who turned out putting their trust in PR. Once again, the majority’s will was denied through the years of gerrymandering, and unbalanced or discriminatory delimitation of electoral constituencies.
While Pakatan may not have won the 2013 GE, there is no doubt that the level of interest among Malaysians, both within and outside the country, was at an all-time high. Stories about Malaysians flying back from Shanghai, Australia and United Kingdom to vote in Malaysia were widespread. Malaysians in Singapore took their acts to the coffee shops and to the MRT stations with the ‘Jom Balik’ campaign.
There are an estimated 1 million Malaysians living, studying and working abroad. Many of them were awakened by the pre-election campaign leading up to the 13th GE and they participated in different ways – by going back to vote, by registering as postal voters, by sharing news and views on social media and so on. In my own campaign, 3 out of my one hundred and thirty campaign personnel, polling agents and counting agents came back to Malaysia from the London just for the elections. This interest has not necessarily died down even though many of these Malaysians abroad were disappointed with the results.
What is UBAH Networks?
UBAH Network is essentially an initiative to provide a platform for those who wish to contribute to the the 47 year old and still-going-strong legacy of the Demoratic Action Party, but are abroad on studies and /or is yet to find the right options available to return home.
Being a multi cultural party which has from its inception till today, pushed for a truly Malaysian Malaysia, DAP welcomes Malaysians brothers and sister from all backgrounds and occupations, of all ages and gender, races and religions, colour or creed to be part of a movement that could be a significant contributory factor to a decisive CHANGE in the 14th General elections and thereafter.
Why Ubah Networks?
Some individuals may not want to be directly associated with a political party but may be more comfortable to associate themselves with the process of change in Malaysia. Since UBAH was a popular call to action in GE13 and will remain so for the foreseeable future, the Secretary General suggested that Ubah Networks be used instead of the more traditional ‘overseas supporters clubs’.
The objective of these Ubah Networks include:
(i) Organizing outreach events for DAP leaders when they visit these countries
(ii) Organizing voter registration drives among Malaysian overseas (online and physical registrations)
(iii) Recruiting interns and members and channelling them back to DAP Malaysia when they return home
(iv) Focal point for information gathering on key issues affecting Malaysians abroad
(v) Soliciting advice and opinion of Malaysian experts overseas
(vi) Organizing fund raising activities for the DAP abroad
The structure of these UBAH Networks should be informal to begin with i.e. it doesn’t have any official ties with DAP Malaysia. The structure of these overseas clubs can be left to you, the Malaysians there who are in a better position to decide on the type of organization you want to create. This will also be determined by the regulations in the UK. It is fairly easy to set up a society or organization so that the accounts and governing structure can be made more transparent.
If any of the above interests you in any way, as only you would know best what you can do best for your nation, please contact us at this very instant. There are no obligations and commitments other than to contribute what you see fit in terms of time, effort and resources. Please fill in the Ubah Networks form below.
I look forward to working closely with you, together, for a better Nation, for a Malaysian Malaysia.