A woman poses for a picture in front of a national flag ahead of the Malaysia’s 56th Independence Day celebrations in downtown Kuala Lumpur on Aug 20, 2013. (Photo: AFP/Mohd Rasfan)
KUALA LUMPUR: With polling day for Malaysia’s 14th general election falling on May 9, a Wednesday, Malaysians have taken to social media to band together and lend a helping hand to those who want to return to their hometowns to cast their ballots.
It would be Malaysia’s first weekday poll in nearly two decades, prompting concerns that voter turnout would be low as a result.
On Tuesday (Apr 10), the hashtag #PulangMengundi or “Go home to vote” trended on Twitter, with Malaysians offering financial assistance and transportation to those who want to travel back to their hometowns to vote.
Forefront International, a creative agency based in Petaling Jaya, also announced additional days off for its staff. Eligible voters who are not from Klang Valley will receive an extra day off to travel home before polling day. As an incentive, they will also get a carpool allowance of RM100 per passenger that they bring home with them.
Meanwhile, eligible voters from East Malaysia will receive two extra days off and RM300 travel allowance per person.
Forefront said local voters based in Klang Valley may take the day off to head to the polls or “choose to return to work and share their voting experiences”.
Speaking to Channel NewsAsia, CEO and founder of Forefront, Darien Mah, said the company encourages its employees to exercise their voting rights by providing additional benefits to “ensure a smooth voting process”.
“This is also to motivate non-voters to register themselves as soon as they get their chance,” he added.
On Wednesday, Malaysia’s federal government declared May 9 a public holiday.
The announcement by the Prime Minister’s Officer (PMO) said the public holiday was to allow all Malaysians to fulfil their responsibilities as voters.