KUALA LUMPUR, May 8 — Close to 700 people gathered at Jalan Maharajalela to head back to their respective hometowns and vote in tomorrow’s 14th general election, all thanks to the #UndiRabu initiative by volunteers.
At the KL and Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall (KLSCAH), the crowd dutifully lined up in accordance to their destinations, which included Johor Baru, Kuantan, Melaka, Penang, Kota Baru, Cameron Highlands, among others.
The #UndiRabu movement was initiated by the youth wing of the Federation of Chinese Associations, which aimed to give all Malaysians a chance to vote.
Its chief Lee Wai Hong said the initiative was funded by public donations, with KLSCAH initially targeting to raise RM40,000.
“The response has been overwhelming. In a short space of time we managed to get over RM190,000,
“This meant that we are able to head to 50 routes instead of the seven that we had planned for,” he told the Malay Mail.
This included subsidising air tickets for 120 people, mostly students, to East Malaysia and back.
“Fifteen youth wings nationwide worked together to realise this project. We held our preliminary discussions on Saturday, and by Sunday interest started to pick up in UndiRabu, mostly via social media or word of mouth,” Lee said.
Thirteen buses were prepared to ferry the voters from KL to their hometowns, with another 22 buses in Puchong and Johor Baru doing the same thing.
Over 1,300 voters will be able to cast their ballots tomorrow, including some 300 overseas voters, because of the initiative.
“We also decided to reach out to overseas voters who were could not make it home in time for the polling day.
“As such we arranged to help and distribute their votes to the returning officers, along the bus routes,” he said, adding the voters were mostly based in Australia but were as far away as the United Arab Emirates and Germany.
Lee stressed that the federation is politically neutral, and that the initiative is simply aimed at ensuring as many citizens get the chance to decide the nation’s future.
“Despite being Chinese associations, we opened up the project to everyone from all walks of life. A few may have cancelled due to various reasons, but most have showed up.
“This is the first such project by the federation, and the public’s reaction has been amazing. It is still to early to tell at this stage, but this positive sign means we might consider a similar project leading up to the next general election,” he said.
Polling starts at 8am tomorrow.