The Star Online|Malaysia 13th General Election

GE13: Malaysian expat spends RM40,000 to fly home to vote

<b>Making their votes count:</b> Chong (left) and Yeoh are back in Kangar to vote. Making their votes count: Chong (left) and Yeoh are back in Kangar to vote.

KANGAR: Spending close to RM40,000 on airfare for two to fly home to vote may sound too pricey to others, but not for businessman Chong Kong Chein.

Chong, 47, who resides in Papua New Guinea, said the airfare included a round-trip ticket for one of his Malaysian employees, Yeoh Sen Peng, 48.

Chong and Yeoh, who flew from PNG's capital Port Moresby on March 29 and arrived home two days later, said they did not mind the travelling because casting their votes was a serious matter.

“We had to take a seven-hour flight, arriving in Singapore from PNG, followed by another flight to Kuala Lumpur and a domestic flight to Alor Setar.

“Then, we took a taxi from Alor Setar to Kangar,” said Chong.

Although Parliament was only dissolved on April 3, Chong said he booked the flight home at the end of March because he was informed by his friends that speculation was rife that elections would be held soon, and he wanted to make sure he was in Malaysia on voting day.

Chong, who has been staying in PNG for about two decades and owns a chain of supermarkets and several travel agencies there, said this was his third time flying home to exercise his democratic right.

“My 13-year-old son stays in Kangar with my parents. I want to ensure I make a better choice for them here,” he said, adding that he returned to Perlis twice a year for Chinese New Year and for his father's birthday.

On why he was not voting at the Malaysian Embassy in PNG instead, Chong said he preferred to “feel” the election fever with his friends here.

Yeoh said he had been contemplating flying home. So, when Chong offered to sponsor his flight, he seized the opportunity with both hands.

“I feel so happy to be here again because the last time I voted in Kangar was in 1999.

“I missed the 11th and 12th elections in 2004 and 2008 after I moved to PNG,” said Yeoh.

Both Chong and Yeoh will be voting in the Kangar parliamentary constituency.

For more election stories, please visit The Star's GE13 site