Media statement by Teresa Kok Suh Sim in Kuala Lumpur on Friday, 11th November 2011:
MCA insults the intelligence of Malaysians living overseas by calling them "out of touch"
Malaysian Chinese Association's (MCA) statement that Malaysians abroad shouldn't be given the right to vote because they are "out of touch" and absorb "biased", "doubtful" and "wrong" information is both hypocritical and insulting to the intelligence of Malaysians abroad and everywhere.
At this morning's public hearing of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Electoral Reform held at the Parlimen Negara, MCA Central Committee Member Ei Kim Hock who spoke on behalf of MCA said,
"Voters residing overseas should not be allowed to vote. We view this seriously as those who reside abroad are out of touch and do not truly understand the situation in Malaysia. We are doubtful over the kind of information they receive."
It is MCA who is out of touch with reality for failing to recognise the globalised world we live in where technological advancements allow a free flow of information, quickly and at a low cost. This free flow of information, from a diverse range of news providers, is in fact empowering for citizens.
Thus, it is insulting of MCA to suggest that Malaysians abroad lack the intelligence or media literacy to assess for themselves the veracity of news and information more freely available abroad, when compared with Malaysia's own oppressive media environment which MCA sanctions.
Moreover, Malaysians abroad still have family and friends in Malaysia with whom they are in contact with and receive news from the ground. It is likely that Malaysians abroad who bother to vote are well informed and still care about Malaysia. Some of them even make the effort to drive for hours to the nearest Malaysian consulate to cast their vote.
The irony is that MCA has been setting up MCA Clubs in the United Kingdom and various other countries to drum up political support abroad. When MCA leaders travel, they have been taking the time to meet with and brief the Malaysians living there on the political situation in Malaysia.
Therefore, MCA should not stand in the way of Malaysians abroad who want to vote in our elections. It is disappointing that MCA is so intimidated by the overseas vote that it chooses to deny Malaysians their constitutional right to vote while insulting their intelligence and upholding an oppressive media environment.
* Teresa Kok Suh Sim, DAP National Organizing Secretary, Selangor State Senior EXCO for Investment, Industry & Trade & MP for Seputeh