General election is just around the corner. All the people in this country have started to prepare for it. General election is the most important part in the democratic system of a country, as well as a channel to change the imperfectness in the system. As a body to push the students’ movement in this country, DEMA encourage all undergraduate to campaigning in the 12th general election. Although in our country there is AUKU or University and College University Act (UUCA) restriction and Ministry of Higher Education recently constantly warn student not to involve in campaigning for anyone in general election, but to involve in politic is the fundamental rights as a human. Therefore, we urge the abolishment of UUCA and all students should uphold the fundamental rights to involve in politics.
The purposes we encourage students participate in general election are as below:
1. To enable students to join directly and understand the whole process of general election
The main purpose of DEMA to join the general election is to widen participants’ knowledge of the process of general election. Throughout the few weeks of participating in campaigning for general election, the participants can learn to use various of strategies, command the skill of publicity, and stand a chance to communicate with voters, understand their thoughts and learn how to communicate effectively. All these precious experiences cannot be learned through studies, but can only be obtained through own experiences. Besides that, participants can also understand better about the fraudulent and unfair in general election, for instance, the division of constituencies (Barisan Nasional won a popular votes of 64% but was granted 90% of parliamentary seats), vote buying, phantom voters, unfair reporting of mass media, and country resources’ abuse.
2. To break the political apathy of students
University students are considered as the hope of the country, but most of them are apathy of politics and this is a threat to the future development of the country. Hence, DEMA hopes that this campaigning activity for general election will decrease or wipe out students’ political apathy, increase their political consciousness, encourage them to show concerns towards the current affairs in the country and the politics. This will encourage more future leaders to join politics and hence change the current politics’ culture and system.
3. To enable students to participate in the democracy process
Besides that, general election is one of the ways to show democracy where one can choose his/her representatives through voting. As an organization which promotes democracy, DEMA hopes to join directly in the democratic process in the country. ‘Action speaks louder than words’, therefore, we will only be able witness and understand the democratic status in the country by participating in the general election. The most important part is that, by joining in the campaigning process, university students will be able to voice out their own opinions. General election is an event which gains the attention from all the people in the country, so we should voice out our opinions and wishes, let more people concern about it, and add different voices to the general election.
4. To give opinions about students’ agenda
The making of policy is done by the government of the country, and so all the policy made will affect all the people in the country. Most of the time, the policy only benefits some minority groups, and the voices of university students are always ignored. General election is an important time to change the situation in the country. By joining in the campaigning process, students will be able to communicate with the people directly and express their opinions. During the campaigning period, students can express their demands of politics of the country, economy, culture and education by distributing leaflets, house visiting, talks etc. Hence, this is the best time to raise students’ awareness towards general election and to stand with the people!
5. To strengthen opposition coalition and break one-party predominance
DEMA is of the opinion that, without party alteration, it tends to lead to one-party predominance. Under this kind of politics’ situation, the space for the people in this country to participate in politics decreases. By strengthening the opposition’s coalition, there will be a situation of check and balance, and we should let them compete. By having this space, the political consciousness and the participation of the people will increase, and so people’s power will grew stronger.