Addressing the #undirosak detractors — Hafidz Baharom

FEBRUARY 20 — Since Pakatan Harapan’s prime minister in waiting has announced that the manifesto launch has been delayed to reassess their promises, I shall now restart the campaign of writing to the media.

First off, I would like to point out to Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan that saying “we are on the same side” right after launching a cartoon mocking #undirosak, is quite the hypocritical stance to take.

At the same time, I would like to repeat that spoiling our votes are allowed and also legal, contrary to some who have said that it is an act of treason.

Yes, we have pushed for electoral reforms, but this is the difference between us and the Coalition for Free and Fair Elections — we would rather see it in their manifesto rather than take any political party at their word of mouth.

As any lawyer would advocate, at least have it in black and white first. Even if we can’t enforce it in a court of law, we can always enforce it in a court of public opinion.

Secondly, it seems this must be repeated, those who have used #undirosak on Twitter and Facebook are not looking for utopia or even the ideal candidate — if anything, all we have requested thus far is to have candidates that are approved by the voters themselves and not by sitting committees up top.

The failure to go back to the grassroots on all sides of the political divide just strengthens our case that political parties are in fact treating local communities as nothing more as a rubber stamp for their political goals, rather than addressing the concerns of each and every parliament seat and assembly seat.

It begs the question, are we voting for representatives of local people in parliament, or representatives of political parties and parliament to explain to people?

Honestly, by now, it seems a bit topsy-turvy in Malaysian politics. Thus, I would urge both sides to consider their candidates wisely or see more spoiled votes than usual.

At the same time, it is fine if Pakatan Harapan has to delay their manifesto release and continue their discussions over seat arrangements because what matters to myself is policy.

It is good that they are taking their time to revamp their manifesto, even if their delayed release date has made them miss their own set deadline and proves whether or not they can be trusted to act in a timely fashion.

But this is Malaysia, and we are oft forgiving of transgressions when it comes to timeliness.

However, I would humbly request that Pakatan Harapan’s top leadership set a new date for the release of their manifesto rather than leave it an open-ended question.

Subsequently, I would also like to address the words of the ADUN of Teratai from the DAP who released and later deleted a video saying that only “spoiled people spoil their votes” and “even Banglas vote” — both of which are derogatory.

First of all, you cannot backtrack and say it is not a party stance when you speak with your Rocket logo in the background. Secondly, I denounce her use of putting down Bangladeshis as a comparison to Malaysians in general.

If this rude and xenophobic assemblyman is an example of the quality for candidates considered by Pakatan Harapan for our votes, then I suggest you prolong your seat discussions for as long as possible to find viable candidates with enough intellect to not annoy voters if you even wish to win a general election.

I believe it is time we drag mature politics into the mainstream by advocating a campaign based on policy ideas from electoral reforms to foreign policy all the way up to environmental policies beyond free plastic bags and who let the Israelis in.

Fault finding is a problem half solved, and with entire swathes of current opposition leaders coming from the government, there is enough to make any such action just splatter back in their faces.

Thus, I hope both parties instead continue suggesting better policies in order to entice voters to back them, not out of fear but out of hope that one side can guarantee a better future for Malaysians, be it the poor who have never bought a trash bag or even the middle class young families who want price-controlled goods seen in the 1990s.

Offer what you can, debate what you cannot, clarify what you must do and what people might have to sacrifice from 2018 until 2023. And there is plenty to discuss from legal needs for protecting whistleblowers, to stop clown drawings from being persecuted, to ending the banning of websites, books and even movies.

At the same time, I humbly ask that both sides of the political divide set dates for live, formal debates to determine who had better policies and who has better arguments on what should be done for Malaysia.

And since the youth vote is almost half of the population, there should be one specifically on what each side is offering to the young generation which will take over the reigns of this country by 2050.

The other two topics should be on the rights for our Borneo brothers and sisters, and another on the economy of the country.

Honestly from the Peninsular side, we have never given enough credit to the need to listen to the wants of Sabah and Sarawak, and we need to end this drought.

The spoiled vote movement will continue on social media, and address future letters to editors from now on since the manifesto date has been delayed and unannounced.

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

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