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(File pix) Polling Day has been set on Wednesday, May 9, 2018, which falls on a weekday. Pix by Sairien Nafis

KUALA LUMPUR: Ever since the Election Commission announced that polling day is set for Wednesday, May 9, many have expressed concerns – despite the date having been declared a holiday – that they would not be able to return to their to constituencies mid-week, or raise travel funds in time for the big day.

Amidst the hubbub, Twitter user @klubbkiddkl started #PulangMengundi, so that those struggling to finance their commute back home could connect with Malaysians willing to sponsor or subsidise trips.

(File pix) While Polling Day has been set on a Wednesday, many Malaysians are determined not to be left out. Pix by Sairien Nafis

He wrote: “Ok…. You know what. I’m starting the hashtag #PulangMengundi. If you have problems taking time off to vote, or can’t afford to – please use the hashtag, and maybe someone can help.”

#PulangMengundi, which means "return to vote" in Bahasa Melayu, quickly became the top Malaysian trending topic on Twitter. Those in need of financial assistance, predominantly students, immediately took to the social media platform to seek help from fellow Malaysians.

One of them was university student Vann, who wrote: Anyone who's willingly to donate some money for me to go back to Sabah on May 9th? Return ticket is so expensive from KL to Sandakan, Sabah. Help is much needed here! #PulangMengundi #FirstTimeVoter #FinalYearStudent”

In response to civic-minded people like Vann, many generous netizens made offers to pitch in or sponsor petrol, bus fares, train fares and even flight tickets.

One of them, [email protected], wrote on Twitter: “I’m joining the bandwagon for #PulangMengundi so please DM me if you need help. Am setting a certain amount for 50 pax and hope that it will make a difference! Priorities to those needing flight tix home esp students & underprivileged! Cheers!#PRU14 #UndiHariRabu”

Even Malaysians who are unable to vote are lending a hand so that those who can are able to exercise their democratic right.

Adhura [email protected] wrote: “Hi. I can't vote yet, but I just want to reach out to people (priority will be given to students) who need financial assistance to #PulangMengundi.

- bus tickets

- toll and gas

Slide into my DM! I don't have much but it's the least I can do.”

The outpouring of support has surprised, touched and impressed many netizens, including Rohan Javet Beg, who wrote on Twitter: “Reading the #PulangMengundi hashtag. If all countries were not measured by the policies of their governments, but the generosity of its philanthropists, and the courage of its activists, we'd be the greatest country on earth.”

An official Twitter account for the #PulangMengundi cause has since been created so that people can continue reaching out to those in need ahead of election day:

Pulang [email protected]_Mengundi wrote: “To our angels (sponsors) and those seeking help on #PulangMengundi – please hold on. We will begin officially by 8am. We will explain how to seek angels, and also how to search for Malaysians who need your help to get home to vote! Please tell everyone to follow!”

#PulangMengundi certainly wins our vote for starting an impactful, worthwhile campaign. – SAYS.COM

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