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KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 26 — “If i ever see supporters of #undirosak i will kill your parents and make you watch.” goes a tweet by a Twitter user with 805 followers.
The (likely exaggerated) outburst is one of many insults and attacks, including from Pakatan Harapan (PH) politicians, against Malaysians who are expressing their plan to spoil their votes in the 14th general elections (GE14) to protest against both the federal Opposition coalition and the long ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) using the hashtag #UndiRosak.
“I’m not going to hashtag and give spoilt children any credence. But #otakrosak is apt,” Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM) supreme council member Tariq Ismail posted on Facebook Tuesday, using the Malay hashtag roughly meaning “brain-dead”.
“A bunch of spoilt brats crying over spilt milk whilst over the dinner table they don’t like the food and instead asks the host to cook a meal they want with the intent to spoil the mood of everyone.
“You are more gutless than the BN cytros and fanatics. At least they make a stand,” he added, using the short-form for “cybertroopers”.
The movement of mostly anti-establishment young people, who plan to either spoil their votes or abstain from voting in the GE14, appeared to have gained momentum after PH announced Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, whom many Opposition leaders used to denounce as an autocrat during his administration, as their prime minister candidate.
On Twitter, a graphic by user @pilocarpine101 titled “Guide to GE14” listed a question: “Are you a ‘p****k’?”, with the “Yes” answer leading to #UndiRosak. The popular graphic has since been retweeted over 150 times and reposted by many others.
Parti Amanah Negara vice-president Hasanuddin Mohd Yunus, in a Facebook post, had even told the police and Election Commission to take action against those advocating spoiled votes.
The Amanah leader questioned if spoiling one’s vote was a crime under Section 124B of the Penal Code that prohibits activities “detrimental to parliamentary democracy”, punishable with 20 years’ jail.
“Any intervention by legal enforcers like PDRM against the freedom in campaigning to not go out to vote or to spoil their ballots is the last option if something really threatens the nation,” Hasanuddin said in a statement last week, using the Malay initials for the Royal Malaysian Police.
Selangor Speaker Hannah Yeoh who is from DAP posted on Facebook yesterday: “Evil triumphs when good men spoil their votes #JanganUndiRosak”, paraphrasing a quote by Irish political philosopher Edmund Burke who said: “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing”.
Some PH supporters have also lambasted supporters of the #UndiRosak movement as idiots and even compared them to the harmful anti-child vaccination movement, also known as “anti-vaxxers”.
Some challenged #UndiRosak proponents to run for office themselves, and while others accused the movement and those who highlighted it as being BN lackeys.
Bebas Anwar volunteer Adrian Lim Chee En posted a lengthy Facebook post saying that those who boycott GE14 will be held responsible for a list of issues such as the goods and services tax, cronyism, corruption, deaths in custody, starving children, and poverty.
The PH presidential council said Tuesday that spoiling votes would only punish PH and benefit BN.
PH chairman Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad had made snide remarks about the #UndiRosak movement in a blog post yesterday titled: “Pepsi or Coke”, in which he gave an analogy of a person who preferred to walk instead of choosing between a Proton or Rolls Royce, but got knocked down by the driver of the Rolls Royce who stole the car.
Pro-Opposition activists have also come out to urge voters to cast their ballots. Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan said GE14 was “not the election to boycott or spoil your vote because the nation cannot afford for the present state of affairs to continue”. G25, a group of prominent retired civil servants, said calls to boycott the 14th general election were “irresponsible”.
Writer Hafidz Baharom, an #UndiRosak advocate, said some have claimed he was bought over by BN.
“These insults for myself don’t matter. I know my principles. I know my own history of helping Pakatan when it was still Barisan Alternatif, helping Irene Fernandez campaign in Subang Jaya in 1999.
“I first voted in 2008 for Pakatan, in 2013 I volunteered to do translation work for Charles Santiago while also helping Praba Ganesan in PKR HQ handle the @DemiRakyat Twitter account,” Hafidz told Malay Mail.
Charles is DAP’s Klang MP.
Hafidz said insulting #UndiRosak proponents or trying to guilt-trip them into voting for PH would not work.
“And Pakatan supporters and leaders forget. Do you think seeing how you treat your own will actually appeal to the fence sitters?”
Muhammad Iqbal Fatkhi, a writer with the portal Cilisos, said insulting the #UndiRosak movement was unhelpful.
“I’ve been trying to engage with non-voters (including Hafidz) because I do see them as a crucial group to win over for the sake of Pakatan’s messaging. If people aren’t buying the argument for the country’s need for change, it’s a problem that needs to be dealt with instead of just brushing aside,” he told Malay Mail.
Meanwhile, political analyst Oh Ei Sun advised political parties to ignore the #UndiRosak movement and to focus on mobilising their core supporters instead.
“These people have virtually no sense of shame or embarrassment — they are just too absorbed into themselves and their imaginary idealistic world,” Oh said, referring to #UndiRosak advocates.