For Jeff Ooi, For Malaysia, For Democracy

So do not worry about tomorrow: tomorrow will take care of itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Matthew 6: 34 (New Jerusalem Bible)

When I woke up the morning after I posted the entry with that quote from the Holy Bible, Wuan said to me, “You better decide if we are going to drive back to Penang to vote.”

I rubbed my eyes, not really believing what I just heard. Without my glasses, she was just a figure standing at the end of the bed. For several days in a row, I have woken up from early morning dreams that were all too realistic to be just dreams. Somehow, I have come to doubt what reality was and if they were just part of another dream.

I had not told Wuan about my wish to go back to vote and she had not yet read what I wrote then. I squinted, trying hard to focus on her. It was not a dream. I was awake, barely, but I was awake. Tomorrow took care of itself all right. Knowing Wuan, that meant she would accompany me to Penang on election day for me to cast my ballot should I decide to do that. I was not prepared for that as I was still unsure of what I would do.

We talked about it after that. If all goes according as planned, Wuan will have to cast her ballot at the polling station here in Pandan Perdana when it opens early in the morning. We will leave for Penang by 9am. It will be a 6-hour road trip with one stop at Tapah for emptying my bladder and another at Ipoh for lunch. I expect to reach Penang by 3pm and arrive at the polling station by 4pm.

I hope my body is up to it – not the road trip to and fro but the exhaustion and effects after that. The consolation now is that the most recent blood tests and ultrasound indicates that the condition of my kidneys have not deteriorated further although swelling was detected in the athrophied left kidney. Nevertheless, I tire very easily nowadays and do not want to push my body too much lest that may cause further damage.

This election will be the first and probably the last that I am voting in Penang. I have contributed nothing meaningfully to this island that I have called home for four decades. Soon, I will be uprooting to a city 400 km away. This is all I can do, hoping, praying, that this little effort will bring about a greater change for the island that will always be close to my heart. There are too many sentimental memories to just turn my back to and walk away from.

This is also for my beloved motherland Malaysia and exercising my responsibility and right as a Malaysian. I have talked much about issues affecting disabled people. I have advocated for improvement in accessibility in public transport and the built environment. I have publicly protested against discriminatory policies imposed on disabled people. I have blogged about how disabled people are still being marginalised in society. Now is the time and opportunity to walk the talk a step further.

If I do not even bother to exercise my democratic right by casting my vote I should not be talking about those issues. If I let slip this opportunity, I have no right to complain about the insufficiencies in the present system that are marginalising disabled people from mainstream society. If I do not care to vote, I deserve whatever government that gets elected. But I care. I have seen with my own eyes things that are not right with our nation. Not enough is being done to provide support to people who really need it while money is being squandered elsewhere. Ministers and politicians more than often make promises that they never intended to fulfill from the beginning.

Things must change and now is the perfect time to make that happen. I am going all the way to Penang from Kuala Lumpur to cast two votes – one for Jeff Ooi for a better Malaysia and the other for a better Penang. I am putting myself and Wuan through this trouble because I believe in Jeff Ooi. I believe he can bring about a refreshing change to the wellbeing of the nation. If he wins the Jelutong parliamentary seat, the trouble that I have to go through to vote for him will be worth the effort a thousand times over. If he does not get voted in, well, he tried, I tried and we all tried. That is democracy.

All eligible voters of the Jelutong parliamentary seat who are residing in other states should go back and vote for Jeff Ooi come polling day on March 8. A little effort can go a long way. He is sticking his head out for the betterment of our nation. It is no easy task and takes a lot of courage, not to mention effort and money, to offer oneself up as a candidate for the election. Jeff Ooi has stepped up to the challenge. The least we can do is to make make our votes count and his effort worth his while. When we vote for Jeff Ooi, we are not only voting for him but voting for a better Malaysia for ourselves and our families.

I have said it before and I am going to say it again now. I am throwing my support behind him neither because he is a fellow blogger nor the fact that he is from the DAP. Jeff has proven beyond reasonable doubt that he dares to speak out without fear or favour on pertinent issues affecting the nation through his blog way before he became a politician. It is that courage that I hope he will bring into the Parliament should he be elected. We need people like him to ensure accountability, transparency and good governance in the administration of our country’s affairs.

Go Jeff! Malaysia needs more courageous people like you.

Author: Peter Tan

Peter Gabriel Tan. Penangite residing in the Klang Valley. Blissfully married to Wuan. A LaSallian through and through. Slave to three cats. Wheelchair user since 1984. End-stage renal disease since 2017. Principal Facilitator at Peter Tan Training specialising in Disability Equality Training. Former columnist of Breaking Barriers with The Borneo Post. This blog chronicles my life, thoughts and opinions. Connect with me on Twitter and Facebook.

8 thoughts on “For Jeff Ooi, For Malaysia, For Democracy”

  1. My vote goes to Jeff ,as I will be voting in Jelutong.No doubt about it.

    Go Jelutong!!! 😀

  2. I am taking a 4 hour journey to vote too. I make sure I’m not alone but to gather a few like-minded friends with me to fulfil our obligations. May Malaysia prosper from the change on March 8th….

    All the best!

  3. You better tell me now, otherwise I’ll just wait you at Jelutong polling there.

    Do you know how many polling centres there are in Jelutong?

    Jom go makan after that?

  4. Oi come we dine together on sat. Unless you are too tired to eat after driving down and casting your vote.

    Go where makan first?

  5. I have spoken to Jeff’s publicity manager, Teng – he informed me that there will be at 5 people at the center around 4pm. Please note that they are still recruiting more people and as the day draws near, I will YM you to let you know. Every vote counts.

    Thank you.

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