KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 11 (NNN-Bernama) — Amidst the hustle of residing and earning a living in Malaysia, the Indonesian citizens did not let this prevent them from fulfilling their duty to their homeland by participating in early voting for the 2024 General Election on Sunday.
The Chinese New Year public holiday provided an opportunity for Indonesian citizens to attend one of the six polling centres opened in Malaysia on Sunday – namely in Kuala Lumpur, Johor, Penang, Sabah (Kota Kinabalu and Tawau), and Sarawak (Kuching).
Bernama surveyed the World Trade Centre (WTC) in the capital, one of the six aforementioned polling centres, and found the situation to be under control and proceeding smoothly, with the presence of authorities such as the Royal Malaysia Police and the Kuala Lumpur City Hall ensuring security and traffic flow.
Data analyst Kartika Utami, 32, originally from Jakarta, mentioned that the voting process was smooth for her, having previously voted in Indonesia and registered for a change of polling centre, expressing hope that the elected Indonesian leaders would bring further progress to her country.
Omaraja Kaminaldi, a 20-year-old student from Jakarta studying at Universiti Malaya, shared that this was his inaugural voting experience since the eligible voting age in Indonesia is 17 years.
“I hope the new president will care about the youth, especially in terms of education and employment. I hope there will be a significant change,” he said, having arrived at the polling centre as early as 5.30 am to ensure he does not miss the opportunity to vote.
In PENANG, the early voting process for Indonesian citizens in three states – namely Penang, Kedah, and Perlis – was conducted at the Consulate General of the Republic of Indonesia (KJRI), involving 5,375 registered voters.
Voter Munira Ahmad, 35, originally from Medan, Indonesia, expressed excitement and used the public holiday to fulfill her responsibility to vote for her country’s leaders for the first time after living in Penang for seven years.
“I hope whoever governs Indonesia will continue to defend the interest of its people and ensure Indonesia remains peaceful and prosperous. A peaceful life is all we want,” she said.
The Head of the Overseas Election Committee (PPLP) at KJRI, Nanie Kurniasari, told Bernama that voting through mobile ballot boxes had been conducted in the Indonesian community, factories, and plantations starting from Feb 1 until yesterday in the three states, involving 42,660 people.
In JOHOR, the Chief Executive of Overseas Election for Johor Bahru, Ardiyanshah Syahrom, stated that 2,684 people voted at the KJRI Johor Bahru polling centre, and KJRI Johor Bahru also handled the election through mobile ballot boxes for four states – namely Johor, Pahang, Negeri Sembilan, and Melaka.
“The total number of voters in the four states, including Johor, is 119,491 people, with Johor having 90,666 people. Our ballot box or (drop box) has been operational since Feb 5 until today. As of Feb 9, we have received votes from 55,000 voters (through mobile ballot boxes),” he said at a press conference at KJRI Johor Bahru today.
Yulia Deswita Marlis, 42, who has been working in Johor for the past 21 years, hopes the incoming leaders will make job creation and economic growth their top priorities.
In SABAH, the voting process for 158,111 registered voters in Sabah was held at two locations in Kota Kinabalu – namely KJRI Kota Kinabalu and the Indonesian School Kota Kinabalu in Sepanggar – while in Tawau, it was held at the Tawau Sports Complex.
At KJRI Kota Kinabalu, school employees Karolus Lukas, 52, and his wife Kasimah Pelilie Raring, 50, who have lived in Malaysia for over 10 years, said they would not miss the opportunity to vote in every election as it is their responsibility as Indonesian citizens.
Their desire is for capable leaders who can uphold positive relations with Malaysia, seen as a close neighbouring country.
In Tawau, Suherbu Hamide, 50, originally from South Sulawesi, hopes that the elected leader will be capable of carrying out the duties as head of state and care for the citizens working abroad.
The voting process in SARAWAK was held at the KJRI in Kuching, with consul-general Raden Sigit Witjaksono reporting that 80 per cent of Indonesians in the region had cast their votes by 2 pm.
He mentioned that in Sarawak, a total of 64,900 Indonesian citizens were eligible to vote, with the majority of 61,912 voters using the mobile ballot box method while the rest (2,988 voters) voted through the Polling Station (TPS) model at KJRI.
“For Indonesians living in plantation areas, the mobile ballot box model was used, guarded by four officers and a supervisor, involving about 500 ballots,” he told Bernama.
He stated that the mobile ballot box election began on Feb 4 until Saturday, covering areas such as Lawas-Limbang, Miri, Batu Niah, Bintulu, Sibu, Mukah, Betong-Pusa, Sri Aman, Kuching, and its surroundings.
He mentioned that the vote counting process will be conducted on Wednesday at the Penview Convention Centre (PCC) simultaneously with the Election in Indonesia, and the results will be submitted to the Overseas Election Committee of the General Elections Commission in Jakarta on the same day.
Previously, the Indonesian Ambassador to Malaysia, Hermono, informed Bernama that a total of 832,420 Indonesians residing in Malaysia had registered as voters.
Out of the total, Hermono estimated that about 30 per cent would fulfill their responsibility in the early voting process for the 2024 General Election on Saturday.
The number of registered Indonesian voters in Malaysia represents nearly half, that is 47.55 per cent, of the 1.75 million overseas voters worldwide for this election.
Approximately 240 million Indonesians will participate in the 2024 General Election on Feb 14 (Wednesday) to elect the president, vice-president, members of the People’s Consultative Assembly, and representatives for local legislative bodies.
This election will see new leaders replacing President Joko Widodo or Jokowi, who will be ending his second and final term in October.
The race for the highest leadership in the world’s third-largest democracy involves three pairs of presidential and vice-presidential candidates.
They are presidential candidate Anies Baswedan and vice-presidential candidate Muhaimin Iskandar or Cak Imin; the pair of Defence Minister Prabowo Subianto and his running mate, the eldest son of President Joko Widodo – Gibran Rakabuming Raka; and the pair of Ganjar Pranowo, former governor of Central Java, with Mahfud MD, former Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal, and Security Affairs.