#UndiRosak will not work in Malaysia just yet

#UndiRosak will not work in Malaysia just yet
By Zan Azlee

So let’s talk about this #UndiRosak movement that seems to be taking Malaysian society by storm. It’s a movement where the proponents are trying to persuade voters to spoil their votes once the general election comes.

The main objective for spoilt votes is for the voters to voice displeasure in the electoral system. It is a stand of protest. Usually, it is because the voters feel like there is a lack of choice when it comes to the voting process.

In this case, the proponents of the #UndiRosak movement feel like both the options – Barisan Nasional and Pakatan Harapan – do not provide them with the confidence that either one can govern the country well.

So, there actually is a purpose and objective when the voters actually register, head down to the polling centre and then spoil their votes by not voting for either one of the candidates that are running in the election.

However, in this particular case in Malaysia, there is a problem. I believe that the movement to spoil votes will not serve a positive purpose because of the situation in our country where the ruling party has never been out of power – ever.

Lack of check-and-balance

BN has been the government since independence in 1957. After 60 years, this has created an unhealthy situation where they are complacent and power-hungry.

For a government to have been in power for 60 years, there would have been opportunities for them to create a system where they feel that there need not be any checks-and-balances and, because of that, they become comfortable in their positions.

It has come to a point where they know that there would not be a strong opposition in our democratic system and they will try, in the best of their powers, to maintain the situation so that they will always remain in power.

So the best bet for our country to improve when it comes to the government is for Malaysians to actually vote in either a new government or provide a very strong opposition so that there will be a proper check-and-balance in the democratic system.

And, because of that, it is very crucial that everybody who can vote does so. Of course, voting is a secret and it doesn’t matter who they vote for because they have every right to vote for whoever they want to vote for.

With a movement to spoil votes, what will happen is that there will not be enough voters, and because the situation in our country is such, that means there might not be a change; whether a change in government or the creation of a strong opposition.

Not yet a mature democracy

For a movement like #UndiRosak to truly work, the situation needs to be whereby the democratic system in the country has already matured. A good example would be the system that exists in the United States of America or even the United Kingdom.

In these countries, there has already been a tradition of switching governments and also a strong opposition to keep things relatively fair and balanced. Malaysia still does not have that.

In the United States of America when a large group of people decide to spoil their votes, it really becomes a form of protest because when the results come out, it represents something. In Malaysia, this just polarises the votes and spoils everything.

With that being said, I don’t think that the people who are pushing for the #UndiRosak movement do not have a right to do so. They have every right to express their voice and state their dissatisfaction with the choice of candidates and political parties that we have in the country.

I can understand how they feel. In fact, I feel the same way too. But it is just unfortunate that our democratic system is not mature enough for a movement such as this.

But I think society in general in Malaysia needs to appreciate this movement because it has created debate, discussion and discourse. Anything that opens up discourse is a good thing, especially to create awareness in a society where a system has been in place for so long that nobody knows anything different.

Time for politicians to listen

Now that the movement has started, it’s very important that people listen and act accordingly. This is especially aimed at the politicians and their political parties.

The people have spoken and what they are saying is that they think you all are not good enough and they have no viable option. Instead of fighting the movement, what the politicians need to do is to address their flaws and weaknesses.

Don’t blame the movement. Take a deeper look at yourself and see why and what you have done that has created the movement. And then, hopefully, people will see that you are trying to serve them instead of just being hungry for power.

[This article was originally written for and published at Malaysiakini.com]

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