My Experience as a Polling Agent (PACA)
For Malaysia’s 15th General Election (GE15) in November this year, my husband and I decided to serve as Polling and Counting Agents (PACAs). We decided to do so after seeing countless news articles and social media updates calling for greater participation in the election, not just as voters but as PACAs as well.
PACAs are volunteers assigned to every polling station and voting room, acting as observers to ensure that the process is properly and fairly conducted. We are like the eyes and ears of the democratic process, making sure that every vote is accounted for and every vote is confidential.
In other words, polling agents are like watchmen on polling day. It was an incredibly eye-opening experience for me. From there, I learnt to appreciate the value of every single ballot paper. It was never about supporting a particular candidate or party, but about ensuring a level-playing field for every nominee, and for a clean and fair election.
Here are some of things I learned:
- The importance of accuracy. The job at hand to cross-check a voter’s identity card number, or manually count the ballot papers required accuracy, scrutiny and precision. These minor details can make or break a candidate’s career in politics and ultimately, the government’s.
- The beauty of kindness. On voting day, it was heartwarming to see Malaysians of all ages, gender and races being so kind, tolerant and warm towards each other, especially to those waiting in line for hours in the hot sun or the drizzle.
- The power of unity. When everyone works towards a common goal, nothing else matters. Most PACAs working together were strangers at first, until we started getting to know each other. Our one and only objective on the day was to do our part well in the roles we’ve been trained to do.
- The passion of Malaysians. The passion and love for the country that I saw among voters and PACAs alike inspired me greatly. I saw how many people sacrificed their time, money, energy and effort to go through PACA training and to show up on polling day to do their duty.
It has been almost a month since GE15, and Malaysians are still processing the major political transition that happened. As PACAs, we have fulfilled our duties as “watchmen”, a Hebrew word which means “they who watch over” or “those who guard against” someone or something.
As I took a good look at Isaiah 62, I asked myself, “What will be the results of a watchman’s prayers?” According to the Israelite prophet, it will be the firm establishment of the Kingdom of God (verse 7).
As we watch and pray, we find ourselves in line with another prophet, Habakkuk, who cried out for God’s glory to cover the earth “as the waters cover the sea” (Habakkuk 2:14). So let us ascend the wall of our city and begin to fulfill our calling as watchmen of God.
About the Author
Karen Kwong is a homemaker. She is passionate about writing articles to share her experiences. She is actively involved in prayer ministries and loves to serve God in the mission fields.
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