PETALING JAYA: Amid calls of the #undirosak (spoilt vote) campaign on social media targeting the youth, politicians across the divide are standing together against the message being pushed through, saying everyone should exercise their right to vote, even if they are frustrated with the state of politics in the nation.
Using the hashtags #undirosak and #protespru (protest elections), many have in recent weeks joined the bandwagon on social media to express their frustration towards both sides of the political divide and to boycott the 14th general election.
A Facebook page called “Undi Rosak” was also created, as they were of the opinion that there was no difference between Barisan Nasional and Pakatan Harapan.
MCA Youth chief Datuk Chong Sin Woon said while he understood the sentiment of some Malaysians, primarily Opposition supporters fed up with former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad making a comeback, it is the citizens’ responsibility to cast their votes.
“If you don’t agree with Pakatan Harapan, vote for Barisan Nasional. It is better to cast a vote because otherwise, others will decide for you,” he said in an interview with The Star.
Umno supreme council member Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim felt that it was inappropriate to have such a campaign, especially in a democratic country like Malaysia.
“If they don’t believe in Barisan or Pakatan, who are they going to trust? At the end of the day, they will have to live with the government that rules the country.
“They have no choice but to make a choice. They must pick a side,” he said.
Dr Mahathir, who is now Pakatan chairman, called on youths not to ignore the election as an act of protest.
He said those who felt that boycotting the election would make no difference were “shallow-minded”, as this move would only benefit their political enemies.
“I think this is the way some shallow-minded people see things in the country. We need a change.
“If we didn’t need a change, I wouldn’t be bothered with this because I’m 92 going on 93.
“I don’t want to become prime minister (again),” he said during a press conference at the Perdana Leadership Foundation in Putrajaya yesterday.
Dr Mahathir said although he believed the movement to boycott GE14 involved only about 1% of voters, it still mattered as each vote counted.
PKR vice-president Tian Chua appealed to the public to be rational and not spoil their votes in the upcoming polls.
“I understand there are concerns that Pakatan is not doing enough. As part of a democratic process, we are constantly trying to improve ourselves and we don’t expect a miracle to happen overnight.
“If you think that Barisan is doing a good job, then vote for them. If you think we are not doing enough, you still can support us for change and punish us after we claim power.
“You don’t do preemptive punishment, right?” he said.
But Parti Sosialis Malaysia’s S. Arutchelvan had a different take, saying that not casting a vote or spoiling a vote was also part of the democratic process.
It was the responsibility of political parties to convince the people to vote in the coming general election, he added.
He said it was not right for Dr Mahathir to label those propagating the campaign as “shallow-minded” because this would irritate them further.
“We have to respect the voters. Leaders should go down to the ground, sit down with voters and convince them to go out and vote,” Arutchelvan added.