#UndiRosak: I hear you but don’t get you

FEBRUARY 2 — #UndiRosak buzz is sweeping the nation. It is essentially a marginal movement (at most, one per cent of the voters) which aims to purposely spoil their vote in order to make a statement: that they reject former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and that they consider the opposition coalition of Pakatan Harapan to not be significantly different from the ruling coalition, Barisan Nasional.

Naturally, the rakyat is asking the question — what do they hope to achieve with this manoeuvre? From what I gather, they hope to make a statement — that the youth (which make up a significant or even overwhelming percentage of the #UndiRosak movement) have given up hope in the political system.

I hear and truly sympathise with them. The Opposition as it stands does not really differ from Barisan Nasional in its outlook. It has vowed to quash corruption and abolish the GST but little else in terms issues like race and religion. 

And Bersatu Youth actually protested against Oktoberfest last year and its leader asked for two terms before racial barriers can be abolished. On top of that the Parti Keadilan Rakyat showed a very weak defence against hudud laws in an interview last year. All this does not reassure the youths.

Again, I completely understand this. I am a keen observer of US politics and in their last presidential elections, I did not see any difference between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump (Bernie Sanders would have made a difference though). 

In the same way, Labour’s Tony Blair was just another conservative in disguise and really betrayed Labour’s leftist and socialist roots. 

This is a period of despair for our nation’s youths and Malaysian politics is in a quagmire.

I am in contact with many youths on social media and find their political and religious discussions very vibrant and refreshing. They ask very incisive questions and have ingested many ideas which are not generally taught in schools. 

They have translated many books by thinkers who again are quite obscure (I certainly had not heard of Bakunin in my school days!). They have read religious scholars who are not on the official reading list and question those who are. 

These youths are not misinformed when they consider the opposition to be a chip of the old block of the ruling coalition.

So where has #UndiRosak gone terribly wrong? In my opinion, where it comes to considering the final outcome of the elections. 

No matter what happens in the elections, someone has to win because someone has to assume power. It is not likely to be fringe or new parties, however much we would like their idealism to take over. 

Like it or not, it is the ruling coalition or with a small chance, the opposition coalition. And given that prior to #UndiRosak, these activists were actively supporting the opposition much more than the ruling coalition, this movement will hurt the opposition’s chances more so than Barisan Nasional’s. 

In fact, it may actually spell the difference between victory and defeat because the difference in votes in the previous general elections was marginal.

In one interview, an #UndiRosak activist said the opposition was “the lesser of two evils.” The activist stated that the lesser of two evils still meant both choices were evil and hence she would spoil her vote. 

I would like to ask her this, given her evaluation, if the opposition was “the lesser of two evils”, what is the substance that makes them “lesser”? It must surely be “good”! 

Why not focus on the good and use it as a springboard for future growth? A small measure of progress is still progress. It should not be all or nothing.

* This is the personal opinion of the columnist.

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