FRANCIS PAUL SIAH
COMMENT A senior editor with a publishing house in Kuala Lumpur and a dear friend sent me this message last week.
“I am not going to vote when the 15th general election (GE15) is called. All the politicians around today are morons. None of them is worth my vote. Why should I waste precious time going out to vote for morons?”
That was a private message (hence, no name is mentioned) but it is no secret that many are harbouring such sentiments. I believe many Malaysians are also considering that option, rightly or wrongly.
Since voting in Malaysia is not compulsory (so, be assured that you would not be fined or jailed for not voting), it has become a personal choice. People do not vote too for a variety of legitimate reasons.
Those who have decided or are contemplating not to vote will surely have one key reason on top of their list – they are sick and tired of politics in this country. Either they have lost all interest in politics or they choose to be indifferent. Who can deny the voter that right to make a personal choice?
This is also a time when public trust in government is at historic lows. Whether it be a Perikatan Nasional (PN) or Pakatan Harapan government, the same players are still around and people do not foresee much changes or reforms for the better ahead.
People may decide to abstain from voting because they do not trust a nation that they feel has lied and perpetuated systemic abuse against minorities, aggravated further by extremism and bigotry by even those in government.
I have said my piece on this matter too. Politicians from both sides are irresponsibly responsible for the people’s restlessness and disillusionment. Let me repeat: To hell with both PN and Harapan!
In case there are certain quarters (likely self-serving politicians and their cohorts) who will accuse me of encouraging people not to vote, let me say this: I have no such intention.
Neither do I possess any power to influence voters. However, I wish to advise politicians to take serious note of my friend’s message to me earlier. It is also a message for them.
When an educated guy described Malaysian politicians today as “morons”, it will do the politicians a lot of good to examine their conscience and reflect why they are deemed as such.
They should stop taking for granted that voters are also morons like them, stupidly going out to vote every five years, hoping against hope that they would make Malaysia great again (to borrow from former US president Donald Trump), only to see the country brought to its knees, time and again.
Many are saying enough is enough; gone are the days when fools believed in and voted for fools. Voters will no longer be bloody fools or the greater morons. It is their right not to partake in meaningless elections.
Please cut the nonsense about one’s responsibility to vote in a democracy and stop preaching about the sacred vote. Malaysians have dutifully and responsibly voted for decades, but they have been let down all too often by selfish, immoral and corrupt politicians.
To encourage a larger turnout, perhaps we should seriously consider introducing a “none of the above (Nota)” ballot whereby people who have no confidence in all of the candidates can formally “vote” without endorsing any candidate by selecting Nota. India and France are two countries with the Nota system.
I have also noted that very few politicians are actually concerned about low voter turnout in GE15 or in future elections.
In spite of and despite the seriousness of the Covid-19 pandemic, they are still keen to gun each other down, the latest furore over just a memoir by former attorney-general Tommy Thomas. Now you understand why they are called morons.
On this score, I give credit to Amanah president Mohamad Sabu (photo), who had wisely stated that convincing the people to vote in the next general election will be a tough challenge.
He pointed out that many are disillusioned with voting due to party hopping, adding that “the next election will not be easy for us to campaign for as there are some people who don’t want to vote anymore”.
Mat Sabu expressed his concern in late December and I am surprised that none of his Harapan colleagues followed up on the matter. Perhaps, Harapan people do not think this is a big issue and that Malaysians will go out in droves to the polls, like before.
This time, they could be in for a big shock!
As for me, I have to fly back to Sarawak to cast my vote at every election. I’m not sure whether it’s worth my time, effort and resources to do so in the next one.
However, one thing is certain – I will not be voting for a moron.
FRANCIS PAUL SIAH is the author of ‘Hijack in Malaysia: The Fall of Pakatan Harapan’. Obtain autographed copies from firstname.lastname@example.org.
The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.