In 8 days Malaysia will go to the polls. While in most offices business goes on as usual, pantry talks will inadvertently touch on party candidates and outcome of the polls. In John Kam’s office at D Jungle People, discussions are encouraged to acknowledge the diverse opinions.

Recognising that there is certainly lack of intellectual discussions in the country, he said “We don’t have enough debates in the country. It is important for people to have a point of view. This allows voters to have an informed decision in the elections.” However, he added that people who debates should not base their discussions on emotions but on information. And employers, leaders and role models has the responsibility to encourage mature discussions. “Our responsibility lies in sharing and education. And employees should not feel like if they said something their boss would get angry,” John said who attributed this behaviour to power distances.

John encourages employers to ease their staff into expressing their opinion. However, they also need to ensure that speaking about politics do not get into other people’s space. And if people get offended by what others say they should know that they have a right to speak up in rebut.

“We are getting too sensitive and defensive as a society. Just because someone has a different opinion, it doesn’t mean he is insulting you,” John advised.

His opinion abut the younger generation and their perception about voting is that they tend to be blase and don’t feel their vote would make a difference. “We should make them see that it may not make a difference to them as an individual but as a country every vote counts.

“So, go out and have a discussions and listen to different view points.”