PENANG: I. Made Sudarta and his wife Emelda live in Gurun, Kedah, but this did not stop them from making the 150km journey to the Indonesian Consulate-General's office here to exercise their voting rights.
The 40-year-old Indonesian quality control engineer, and his 30-year-old wife, who brought along their two children, Nia, eight, and Elda, five, came to vote at the office in Burmah Road at 11am.
Sudarta, who has been working in Malaysia for eight months, said he was sad at missing the election campaign back home in Jakarta.
“As Indonesian citizens, it is essential for us to exercise our right to vote for the best leaders to form a strong government.
“I am very grateful to my company, P.T. Rikayasa Industry, which has a branch in Gurun, for giving all 20 Indonesian employees the day off to vote,” he added.
The couple were among 16,000 registered voters in the northern region – 4,500 walk-in voters and 11,500 postal voters – who cast their ballots for the parliamentary elections.
Cook Endang Setia Hariati, 43, from Relau, Penang, said this was her second time voting in the state since she began working here in 1989.
“I was supposed to return to Indonesia for good last month but due to some delays, I had to stay back a little longer. Luckily, I can still vote in Penang,” said Endang, whose hometown is in Bandung, West Jawa.
In Kota Kinabalu, hundreds of Indonesians turned up at the gates of their consulate at dawn to cast their votes.
All were eager to ensure they had a say in who got elected to the republic’s 550-member People’s Representative Assembly and the Regional Consultative Assembly.
“We vote for the party and the person who we recognise,” said maid Dira Salawa, 39, who came with her estate-worker husband Edi Latiko, 46.
The couple had voted four times at the consulate since they began working in Membakut, about 100km from here.
They added that they and their friends from the Sulawesi region would be back at the consulate again on July 5 to vote in the republic’s first direct presidential elections.