#UndiRosak movement will further hurt Malaysian democracy


#UndiRosak movement will further hurt Malaysian democracy
By Zan Azlee

WITH Malaysia’s upcoming general election, some are exercising their democratic rights by calling for the electorate to place donkey votes.

The #UndiRosak (spoilt vote) movement is being led by youth activists dissatisfied with the two competing political coalitions – the ruling Barisan Nasional and opposition Pakatan Harapan.

When it comes to the ruling party, many feel like the corruption, cronyism and the old faces who have created the broken system are not fit to govern the country and need to go. This is despite the fact that they are the ones who came into power during independence in 1957 and have ruled ever since.

As for the opposition, the fact that now they have several former senior members who had come from the ruling party doesn’t give them much confidence. The fact that former Barisan Nasional prime minister Mahathir Mohamed has now been named the prime ministerial candidate if they win is actually the main gripe.

So, the activists who are propagating the #UndiRosak movement want the people to show their protest and anger towards how there is no proper choice for them to even vote. In theory, this is a great idea because the number of spoilt votes will illustrate number of people who are obviously dissatisfied voters.

However, I believe that this only works in a mature democracy where there already is a culture of a strong opposition or even a culture where the government has changed hands several times.

In Malaysia, the #UndiRosak movement is likely to fail. We just need the most number of voters to go out on the day and vote. The best thing we can do now is to either never the margin and provide a strong opposition, or even totally change the government. By spoiling votes, it just means that there will be less votes to help achieve this.

Several of the characters who are leading the #UndiRosak movement are actually people who I know personally. They are intelligent and respectful people who have ideas and thoughts that I value. As much as I don’t agree with their objective, I still feel that they have a right to say it.

At the very least, these people who have started the #UndiRosak movement have also started and encouraged much needed intellectual dialogue and discourse when it comes to democracy and politics in Malaysia. Now, Malaysians are actually discussing something worthwhile and this is exactly what is needed to help our society mature.

These people have been attacked and insulted with comments that have nothing to do with the argument and are more personal in nature. The women have been sexually harassed and insulted. The men have had their close relatives harassed. And you wonder why I say that Malaysia still doesn’t have a mature enough democracy.

In any case, the real objective is to have the politicians from both divides think about why such a movement has come about in the first place. Take heed that the people have concerns and if they are really interested in serving the people rather than their own race for power, maybe they will listen.

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

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