When the 1999 Malaysian general election was held, I was only 4 years old. I had absolutely no knowledge about it. The 2004 Malaysian general election was the first time where I knew what an election is. However, I didn't really understand its significance, and I got annoyed when I kept hearing people talking about the election.
By the time of the 2008 and 2013 Malaysian general elections, I had understood the importance of elections. I closely followed the news of the 2008 and 2013 elections. However, I still had little understanding about the parliamentary system in Malaysia.
The 2018 Malaysian general election was the first in which I was eligible to vote. Automatic voter registration hadn't been implemented for that election. I was in Year 4 of MBBS at that time. Considering that I would be in UK for my medical electives during the time of the election, I decided there was no point in registering for the election.
Although I was aware that it's possible to vote overseas, I felt that it was too big of an hassle so I didn't sign up for it. Due to the extensive news coverage of the election, I finally understood for the first time how the parliamentary system works in Malaysia. I told myself I should vote in the next election.
In September 2020, I found out from my friend that voter registration can be done easily through the MySPR website. I finally registered as a voter for the first time. I then got the confirmation that I would be voting in the Subang parliamentary constituency and in the Subang Jaya state constituency for Selangor.
I started my housemanship at Kluang hospital in August 2021. During the 2022 Malaysian general election, I was in the Orthopaedics posting and there was a lack of House Officers in the department. As a result, I couldn't apply for leave to go back to Selangor to vote in the election.
Since I am a healthcare worker, I could vote in the election through post. However, before I could complete the application process for postal voting, its deadline had passed. In the end, I couldn't vote in the 2022 Malaysian general election.
In the subsequent 2023 Selangor state election, I was determined to vote. I was in the Paediatrics posting during this election. Once again, there was a lack of House Officers which made it difficult for me to apply for leave. Therefore, I decided to vote through post.
As soon as the application for postal voting was open, I quickly applied for it, not wanting to miss the deadline again. I applied through the MySPR website, and as part of the application, I had to let my Head of Department sign the application form to verify that I would be working on the polling day.
My application for postal voting was approved. On 2 August 2023, shortly after the nomination day for the 2023 Selangor state election, the ballot paper was delivered to my house in Kluang through Poslaju. I then voted and returned the ballot paper. The polling day was on 12 August 2023.
I am glad to have exercised my responsibility as a voter for the first time. I certainly will be voting in future elections as well.