THE eventful US presidential election is (almost) over and I think Malaysia can learn some lessons from it. The process offers some good practices for holding elections during a pandemic, despite the spike in reported infections in the United States.
A major factor that prevented an even wider spread of Covid-19 is the large percentage of mail-in votes – almost 50%. Although Malaysia allows postal votes, the privilege is limited to only a small select group, such as election officials and police and army personnel, so extending this option to every voter would be useful in the current situation and can increase the number of people who vote. There are claims of susceptibility to fraud but statistics have shown otherwise, provided secure processes are in place.
During the campaigning period in the United States, debates were held among presidential candidates, a longstanding feature there. These televised sessions provide a platform for candidates to articulate their plans and policies as well as their commitment if elected to office. I feel that the Malaysian public has overlooked such information in the past and vote based on the charisma or popularity of the candidates. Therefore, such debates would be welcome here.
Finally, when the winner is announced in the United States, there is usually a message of reconciliation with an assurance that the elected represents all the voters. Such a message would also be welcome in Malaysia. The words must then be followed by deeds that ensure no Malaysian feels neglected. This must include equitable allocation of funds to and development of all constituencies.
MOHD SHAH MOHD ISA , Batu Caves, Selangor
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