‘We’re on the same side’, Ambiga tells #UndiRosak

Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan told #UndiRosak proponents today that they were similar to those who wanted a change of government. — Picture by Miera Zulyana
Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan told #UndiRosak proponents today that they were similar to those who wanted a change of government. — Picture by Miera Zulyana

PETALING JAYA, Feb 11 — Former Bersih 2.0 chair Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan told #UndiRosak proponents today that they were similar to those who wanted a change of government.

However, Ambiga said that it was still voting which would bring about real change.

“We are actually on the same side. We are not on the opposing side because you decide the system, we decide the system too. We say, you must vote to change the system. You say, we don’t vote to change [the] system.

“So it’s just a difference in our approach,” she said at the launch of Bersih 2.0’s “Satukan Tenaga, Kalahkan Penipuan” [Unite, Defeat Deceit] campaign here today.

Ambiga added that proponents of spoiling votes in the 14th general election should channel their anger towards the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN), whom she lamented to be “ruining everything.”

The lawyer-cum-activist said that though she was not forcing her view on those who chose to spoil their votes, pointing out that it was their right to do so, she strongly believed that voting could change the country’s political landscape.

“The only way I know how to change this government is to vote them out,” she said to cheers from the audience.

She then highlighted the 2013 general election result for the Cameron Highlands parliamentary constituency that saw over 700 spoilt votes.

“In Cameron Highlands, the margin of win for the Barisan Nasional (BN) candidate, was about 400 plus votes. The ‘undi rosak’ (spoilt votes) was 700 over votes.

“‘Undi rosak’ caused the loss of a candidate who ought to have won. That’s not democracy either. So beware of that,” she added.

Further expounding her point, Ambiga said that there have also been cases where prospective voters found that someone else had already voted in their names. Should one decide to abstain from voting, they would not be able to ascertain that votes had not been cast in their name.

“That’s the problem with the system that we have. So I would say, go and protect your votes. That’s another way of putting it,” she added.

The “Satukan Tenaga, Kalahkan Penipuan” campaign is the latest initiative by Bersih 2.0 in demanding cleaner and fairer elections.

The initiative will see Bersih leaders embarking on a nationwide tour to hold casual “lepak” sessions with voters, to educate them on issues plaguing the government, and urging them to call on their friends and loved ones to vote in the upcoming national polls.

Named as the “eat, talk and call” movement, Bersih said that the cause would be carried out right till polling day.

In the forum, Ambiga also called out critics of #UndiRosak to stop mocking and harassing supporters of the social media movement, notably against social activist Maryam Lee.

“Maryam suffered a lot of name calling and I know Hakam (National Human Rights Society) and many NGOs issued statements on that.

“That is unacceptable. Whether you agree to the cause or not, you can always disagree in a civil manner and I don’t think you should ever descend to that level of name calling that has taken place here,” she told the forum.

Maryam lodged a police report today against threats, sexual harassment and cyberbullying that she suffered at the hands of Pakatan Harapan supporters after advocating at a forum last month to spoil votes in GE14.

The 25-year-old activist shared with Malay Mail a screenshot of a profanity-laced Facebook message from a man who told her that he would “kill you and all your family” and “cut your face”.

She also highlighted Facebook posts from other people who accused her and the #UndiRosak movement of being in cahoots with Umno, superimposed her face onto naked bodies, and called her derogatory names.

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