In spiritless Seremban, big task for Pakatan to get out the vote for GE15

Malay Mail
Malay Mail

SEREMBAN, Nov 5 — This general election will be the third time Amilia Francis Anthony will cast her vote.

Since the first time she was eligible, she had always looked forward to the polling day of each general election.

This time, however, she said the excitement just was not there.

“It doesn’t feel like there is an election that is approaching, just feels like any other day in Seremban — it’s quiet.

“If I don’t read social media, I wouldn’t know there is an election,” she said when met in Seremban town here.

Reminiscing about 2018, the 31-year-old said that general election saw most people she knew fired-up to change the government and certain about how they would vote.

With the 15th general election just two weeks away, the same atmosphere was palpably missing, said Amilia who is from Temiang town.

“Usually before nomination day you can see a lot of flags everywhere. Tomorrow will be nomination day, there are flags but compared to 2018, there is not much seen this time,” she said when on the eve of nominations for GE15.

According to Amilia, who works in pharmacy, there was also the lingering distaste over the so-called “Sheraton Move” that brought down the Pakatan Harapan government in 2020 and left Malaysia in political instability since.

While the country has since passed a constitutional amendment aimed at negating the political defections that allowed the “Sheraton Move”, some such as Amelia were unconvinced.

“We don’t know if it would happen again, but I know that at least I must make a choice to contribute to a change that I hope for — a change of the current government and I want Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim to be prime minister,” she said.

Elsewhere, a fourth-generation tea shop owner who wished to only be identified as Chan expressed similar disenchantment, noting the country has seen three prime ministers since 2018, two of whom were not of her choosing.

“I know we need to vote, but is our vote of any use if a few months later someone does the same trick they did in 2020?

“Who can guarantee that it won’t happen again?” Chan said when met at the Pasar Besar Seremban here.

The 60-year-old said while Seremban appeared safe from the grasp of Barisan Nasional (BN), he asked how PH would be able to win the minimum of 112 votes needed to form the next government in its current state.

Yesterday, independent pollster released the findings of its pre-election survey in which it concluded that no single party or coalition was likely to be able to form the government on its own after November 19.

The findings indicated that some form of a joint coalition government would be inevitable.

“Would it end up falling into the hands that we didn’t vote for again? What happens if they win 100 seats only? Will they cooperate with the people who voted against?

“Just thinking about this makes me wonder if I should bother to go out and vote this time,” he said.

A skincare consultant in her mid-40’s also asked what can the next government do that could ensure that the ringgit is stabilised.

“I feel that whoever forms the next government, this is something they need to address immediately.

“The economy is so bad that is why you hardly see anyone on the streets. Usually during this time as the general election is approaching the streets will be very busy,” the consultant who wanted to remain anonymous said.

It’s too complicated

For Nurul Fateha, 23, this will be the first election in which she will be eligible to vote, but said she has yet to decide if she will even do so.

“I’ve never really thought about it, politics just seems so complicated,” she said when met at a bubble tea shop here in Lobak, one of the state constituencies under Seremban.

Fateha said she has not found a satisfactory explanation for why her vote mattered, or how she would go about casting her ballot.

However, she said she at least knew that she would be voting in Sikamat town, in the event she wished to do so on November 19.

Separately, a 21-year-old retail assistant, who will be also able vote for the first time in this election, said she did not pay attention to the country’s politics.

“It just never interests me. I didn’t check yet if my name is in the system as a voter,” the retail assistant who wanted to remain unnamed said.

Although she did not indicate if she would actually cast her vote, she did also say Seremban this general election is very quiet.

A second-time voter, Nurul Hafizah, 30 said she has made plans to vote, but is also surprised by the lack of enthusiasm felt in the Seremban town.

“It definitely doesn’t feel like how it felt in 2018. There was much more noise in 2018,” she said.

A salesman in his 60’s, Teow Chan Ming who referred to PH as the red flag and BN as the blue flag said it did not matter who will emerge as the winner of this general election.

After experiencing the changes of government since the previous election, Teow said he just wanted one that could contain the rising cost of living.

“Red flag or blue flag, it doesn’t matter, we just want a government who cares for the people

“Right now, if you talk about food, it’s even more expensive than Kuala Lumpur,” he said.

As for vegetable trader at the Pasar Besar Seremban, Ariff Salim who is in his 40’s said whoever wins this general election, they have to keep the country peaceful and free of racial issues.

“My hope for Malaysia is that all races can get along, that is how I was brought up and I go by that until today.

“There should not be any distinction between races, that is my wish for country and what I hope the next government would address,” he said.

This will be incumbent Anthony Loke’s fifth general election and second defence of the Seremban seat, which he first won in 2013.

In the 2018 election, Loke won the Seremban seat with a 30,694-vote majority against MCA’s Chong Sin Woon and PAS’s Sharifuddin Ahmad.

Loke is expected to meet a three-cornered contest on November 19.

Loke had previously acknowledged that he will face a challenge to keep the parliamentary seat as Malay voters have now increased to over 50 per cent, while Chinese voters were almost 40 per cent and, the remainder Indian voters.