DPM Zahid To M'sians In S'pore: If You Can't Get Leave Then Don't Come Back To Vote
"It is up to them if they want to come back to vote or otherwise."
On Saturday, 13 April, Malaysiakini quoted caretaker DPM Ahmad Zahid Hamidi as saying that if the Malaysians working in Singapore don't get leave on 9 May, then they need not return to vote in GE14
May 9, which has been declared as the day of the polling in Malaysia, falls on a Wednesday, i.e. working day. While initially, the date was a cause of concern for many Malaysians in the country, it has now been declared a public holiday.
The PMO made the announcement on 11 April after criticism from the rakyat.
However, prior to PMO's announcement, several companies in Malaysia had already given their employees the day off to make sure they exercise their right to vote.
Even some companies in Singapore have declared that they will grant leave to all their Malaysian employees so that they can return to cast their vote in GE14.
One of them is the Scandinavian furniture giant, IKEA, which has extended one paid day of leave to its Malaysian employees who wish to travel back home to vote.
According to a report in The Malay Mail Online, there are about 400,000 Malaysians who work and live in Singapore, and in addition to that, more than 250,000 Malaysians, mainly blue-collar workers, who commute daily from Johor to Singapore to work.
So when DPM Zahid was asked about his advice to Johoreans working in Singapore as to what should they do when it comes to voting, the caretaker DPM was quoted by Malaysiakini, saying it's "up to them if they want to come back to vote or otherwise."
According to DPM Zahid, if a Singapore employer does not allow their Malaysian employees to take leave for the polling day, then the best thing for these Malaysians to do is to not come back to vote
"We have announced a public holiday on voting day, so it is up to them if they want to come back to vote or otherwise. In my view, the government neither encourages nor discourages (returning to vote) as that is an individual right.
"But if the employer from the said country (Singapore) does not permit (their Malaysian workers to take leave), then I think the best thing to do is to not come back to vote," Malaysiakini quoted DPM Zahid as saying at a press conference in Kluang yesterday.
His remarks have created a flurry of reactions on Twitter
The official Twitter handle of opposition alliance Pakatan Harapan de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim, who is serving a five-year jail term, tweeted saying "odd".
Bersih 2.0, the Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections which seeks to reform the current electoral system in Malaysia, also tweeted from its official Twitter handle asking, "Why doesn't EC take the same initiative as the Phillippines government which sets up overseas voting stations for Filipinos working outside the country?"
Syed Saddiq, the current Youth Chief of the Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM), or more popularly known as Bersatu, also took to his official Twitter account to say that DPM Zahid's remarks show that the BN fears a high turnout.
"It cannot get any clearer than this. They fear a high turnout," Syed tweeted.
Sivamalar Genapathy, the Vice-chief of PKR's women's wing, also tweeted to say that DPM Zahid would rather that Malaysians not vote as it would suit him, BN/ UMNO.
"He is scared of a strong voter turnout & that's why all Msians should make use of their democratic right to vote. Your choice matters not that of a caretaker govt!," Sivamalar tweeted from her account while tagging the Deputy PM in her tweets.
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