The upcoming 14th General Election (GE14) is definitely the most controversial and talked about general election. Thus, many campaigns have arose as the day approaches and among them is the #UndiRosak campaign, which has gotten the attention of many.
According to Asia Time, the #UndiRosak campaign that is led by social activist, Maryam Lee, encourages millennials, who are against the two parties [Pakatan Harapan (PH) and Barisan Nasional (BN)] running for elections, to spoil their votes or to not show up on the day of the general elections.
Why spoil the vote?
Well, Maryam argued in an op-ed published by FMT in October last year (2017), that the spoilt vote is the only choice for voters, especially youngsters, who have been ignored in the pre-campaign discourse.
“Spoiling your votes is exercising your voting rights and telling Pakatan Harapan (PH) and Barisan Nasional (BN) that we don’t like the both of you,” she said.
On 25 January 2018, Maryam attended the Undi Rosak forum, which sparked a huge debate on both sides of the political spectrum on the internet.
FYI, this forum was the reason why #UndiRosak started trending on Twitter.
She further explained that Mahathir’s re-emergence to compete in GE14 is one of the causes of the distress amongst millennials and ‘Gen-Z’ voters, who were either children or not born during his administration from 1981 to 2003.
“The reason why the youths were upset about Mahathir was not just because of him, but the politics and legacy that he brings. Crony capitalism and patronage [are] the biggest currency of corruption in Malaysia – Mahathir was and is still a big source of that problem,” commented Maryam.
What are political experts saying about this?
With such strong claims made, obviously it will garner the attention and comment of experts. Here are what some of them had to say;
Social activist and executive director at WATAN, Masjaliza Hamzah, said, “It is not the clearest way to tell the political class how unhappy voters are with their options. Even if there is a significant number of spoiled ballots in the election, in Malaysia’s first-past-the-post system, the winner will go through even if just by a whisker.”
Similarly, Ambiga Sreenevasan, former Chairperson of the Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (aka Bersih) had also advised against the #UndiRosak movement.
“Let me be clear. Boycotting an election may send a message where the elections are clean and fair. Where the elections are NOT clean and fair (as in our country), boycotting only helps those in power and works AGAINST the people who are trying to change the rotten system,” she tweeted.
Not only that, politic analyst, Hisommudin Bakar, also said that#UndiRosak supporters are rejecting politics and they are a bunch of anarchists. He added that the campaign doesn’t offer anything concrete thus they had failed to convince the masses.
Well, based on the responses, the experts are clearly not on board with the idea.
Should you spoil your vote?
It’s no doubt that the hashtag had garnered the attention of many and divided netizens as some agreed while others didn’t. However, the real question here is, should you spoil your vote?
Before you decide what you should do with your vote, here’s what you need to know;
According to Dr Wong Chin Huat, Penang Institute’s political and social analyst, a spoilt vote campaign would only encourage the current electoral system in Malaysia instead of reforming it, reported The Malaysian Insight.
“If 15% of the votes are spoilt while 25% vote for A and 24% vote B, A will still represent 100% of the voters,” he said.
But what happens if the spoilt votes cause a draw?
Well, the candidates would then call for a recount hoping that they get an extra vote. If that doesn’t work, we would be stuck with a ‘hung parliament‘, which means the government before the elections will rise to power again until Suruhanjaya Pilihan Raya decides when the next election would be.
With that said, whether or not you should spoil your vote depends entirely on your political stance. Hence, as the election approaches, make sure you make a wise decision.
With that, I leave you a quote by the President of United States, J.F. Kennedy, “Ask not what the country did for you but ask what you did for the country.”
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