Editor’s Note

As you prepare to vote, do not succumb to herd mentality and be swayed by election goodies and fiery speeches. Vote wisely, intelligently and with an informed conscience.

Nov 04, 2022

By Patricia Pereira
Come November 19, Malaysians will go to the polls for the 15th General Elections. In the next two weeks, we’ll hear regurgitated promises from the old guards and idealistic ones from fresh faces as they draw up their battle lines.

During this time of preparation, the Church urges Catholics, and all people of good will, to form their conscience and to vote accordingly.

The arch/bishops and clergy do not tell us who to vote for. They trust that we are mature enough to make responsible decisions based on the dictates of our informed conscience.

In the past, we may have been voting a symbol or a flag or a candidate for the sake of doing so and without giving much thought to the consequences of our choice.

But so much “hype” and “spin” are in the air these days that it’s sometimes hard to find the truth, let alone allowing our consciences to be formed by it. Some candidates tell us what we want to hear in order to get elected, while others, once in office, lack political will and courage to stand up for truth and justice, and yet others end up as mere nodding sycophants.

There is no Catholic voting formula and there is rarely, if ever, a perfect candidate for Catholic voters. When it comes to choosing the right candidate, we are often left wondering how we, as faithful Christians and loyal citizens, should vote.

That is why the Church has articulated an extensive body of social teaching on nearly all the social, economic and human rights issues facing people in every corner of the modern world.

Vatican II helped set the agenda for our reflection on critical human issues of freedom, justice and peace. The council affirmed that the Gospel of Jesus Christ has important things to say on matters of political, economic and moral concern. Vatican II and subsequent Church teachings also challenged each of us to be faithful citizens of our respective communities and to be fully engaged in promoting the general welfare of all (the common good).

A culture of the common good provides for the health, welfare and dignity of all persons and promotes the best interests of everyone, not just the few. It also focuses on helping those who need it most – the poor and the vulnerable, regardless of their ethnicity, religion or political affiliations.

Especially in today’s post-pandemic economic, social and political climate, our society urgently needs a renewed politics that focuses on moral principles, the defence of life, the needs of the weak, and the pursuit of the common good as reflected in the social teaching of our Church and the best traditions of our nation. Without it, our communities degenerate into factions that are always at odds with each other.

The bottom line is that each person has intrinsic dignity which comes from God, not from any human quality or accomplishment, not from race or gender or economic status, religion or creed. Every human life is both sacred and precious, thus making the preservation of human dignity and human rights of utmost importance. Therefore, we must seek to build a society that ensures peace, justice and equal dignity for all.

So as you prepare to vote, do not succumb to herd mentality and be swayed by election goodies and fiery speeches. Vote wisely, intelligently and with an informed conscience. Remember, the fate of our nation lies in your ink stained finger!

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