KUCHING: Some 237 Sarawakian students will be travelling home to vote for the first time in GE15, thanks to crowdfunding efforts by the Siswa Balik initiative.
The Siswa Balik group said they managed to raise RM42,072.51 for their #JuhBalitNgundi campaign, which was launched on Nov 3 along with civil society organisations Rise of Social Efforts (ROSE) and CSO Platform for Reform to help Sarawakian students go home to vote.
"We thank each one of our generous donors for making the campaign a success, as without these funds, we would not have been able to undertake this programme," Siswa Balik said in a statement on Thursday (Nov 17).
However, the group said their efforts would not be necessary if the government had facilitated access to voting for students who are studying far away from their polling stations or in another state in Malaysia.
It said crowdfunding to subsidise transport costs was only a temporary solution to this problem.
Hence, Siswa Balik reiterated its call to the Election Commission to provide a permanent solution by allowing students to vote by post or vote in advance from their respective higher learning institutions if they are studying away from their hometowns or home states.
The group also called on all election candidates in Sarawak to put this matter on their agenda.
"If not, all talk of fighting for Sarawakian autonomy will remain just talk.
"How do Sarawakian youths find their voice if they continue to be disenfranchised as in the present circumstances?" it said.