Stop attacks against Maryam Lee and Hafidz Baharom — Charles Santiago

JANUARY 31 — It’s been a few days now that the social media is full of targeted attacks against those who stand by and advocate for the UndiRosak movement.

It’s important for us to understand that a person is also exercising his or her constitutional right by abstaining from voting.

And deliberately spoiling one’s vote is a legitimate form of electoral process.

Having said that I believe that spoiling one’s vote in expressing dissent at a critical juncture in Malaysia’s electoral history cannot be the best alternative going forward.

And UndiRosak may not work to deliver the aspirations of its proponents as we do not have free and fair elections or an electoral process that is non-corrupt.

I therefore do not agree with the position taken by those who are campaigning for UndiRosak but we certainly need not resort to vulgarity and death threats while doing so.

It’s appalling that Hafidz Baharom, a political commentator, has been attacked with derogatory remarks and violent threats.

And I also vehemently condemn the attacks against Maryam Lee from Projek Dialog, who was also humiliated with sexist and misogynistic remarks because she is a woman.

It’s deplorable that photos of her were used in sexually explicit ways.

Shutting down the voices of young Malaysians stifle intellectual discourse in the country and only encourage toxic politics, which we in Pakatan Harapan, are fighting against.

I believe it’s important to note that the UndiRosak folks are opposition supporters, albeit disgruntled ones.

They have publicly aired their grievances and their disappointment with the federal Opposition.

Thus, I invite UndiRosak proponents to engage with DAP chief Lim Guan Eng so that their aspirations, perspectives and alternative positons can be incorporated into Pakatan Harapan’s election manifesto.

I hope we can stop such gutter discourse and instead engage constructively and speak our mind without being crude, uncouth and disrespectful.

While we disagree with UndiRosak’s position we should allow for dissenting voices and criticisms in a democracy.

As such, the best strategy going forward is to engage them.

* Charles Santiago is the Member of Parliament for Klang

** This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of Malay Mail.

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