LET me start off by saying I entirely understand where the #UndiRosak movement is coming from.
There are a lot of disillusioned people who placed a lot of hope on the message of change preached by Pakatan Rakyat/Harapan, only for it to be not palpable.
In fact one might even think there is no change at all looking at Pakatan Harapan’s candidate for prime minister, and some of the infighting that’s been happening ahead of the next general election.
The #UndiRosak movement and others like it are the manifestation of the frustration and anger towards Pakatan Harapan for failing to be the saviours that they said they would be.
However, herein lies the problem with it.
We should never have, and must never henceforth, put all our hopes on politicians and expect them to be the saviours of the nation.
We need to put an alternative government in power to show that an alternative government is not a one-way ticket to doom and destruction. At the moment, the only viable alternative we have is Pakatan Harapan.
I will be the first to say that I do not know whether the government formed by Pakatan Harapan will be a good one.
There could be all manner of evil lurking in the closets of the Pakatan representatives. In some instances, the evil has been well documented over many decades.
Human beings are an inherently flawed species in that regardless of whatever noble values they claim to espouse and fight for, when they ascend to a position of power – and with special regard to a position of nearly uncontrolled power due the systematic emaciation of check and balance institutions in this country – a switch goes off in their heads and then the power takes control.
To employ a well used quote “Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely”, Lord Acton (1834-1902).
It is for this reason that I am sure that despite the sloganeering and manifestos that we have been fed with by the slick marketing team behind Pakatan Harapan, we could very well be disappointed.
“This is why we can’t vote for Pakatan Harapan or Barisan Nasional,” I hear you saying. “This is why #UndiRosak is important. We need to teach both sides a lesson.”
Well the reality in Malaysia is that a spoilt vote in the next general election will only benefit Barisan Nasional.
The way in which the constituency boundaries have been drawn up and given the rural/urban divide and voting trends absolutely guarantee this.
As such, despite the less-than-stellar performance and offerings by Pakatan Harapan, it is more important than ever to vote for them.
It’s important not because they are perfect. Far from it!
I want to vote them into power because if they mess up, I can vote them out of power and then I will have a hopefully reformed Barisan Nasional, that has taken stock of why it lost, revamped its structure, dropped the deadwood and is willing to provide a better alternative.
If that is truly the case (I am an eternal optimist) then my vote then will surely be for Barisan Nasional.
The point I’m making is that we must have a choice. And for this nation to be convinced that the alternative is a viable choice, it must be tested.
And this is why I am urging all right thinking members of the Malaysian society to not spoil their votes, and to come out in full force and exercise your right to vote for the party of your choice, or at least the party you despise the least.
If for no other reason, then merely to give ourselves – and our children – a real, viable and tested choice in future elections.
I yearn to live in a country where the government is actually concerned that they can be voted out and not just lose two-thirds majority in Parliament.
The benefits of a healthy two-party system are obvious. In the past 68 years in the UK, the average length of administration by either the Labour or the Conservative party is nine years. This would prevent an entrenchment of certain individuals in power that they start feeling it is their divine right to rule.
The bigger advantage for me is that the civil service will start realising that they need to be independent and run the country efficiently – and that they do not owe their existence to the politicians.
A strong and independent civil service is an essential feature of any thriving country and we need one badly.
So for that reason alone, I urge everyone to vote.
Please do not waste this right to vote that so many people have had to fight for in the past.
Do not let your anger towards the current crop of Pakatan Harapan leaders result in you entrenching Barisan Nasional in government for longer than it would have been. Now that is a #scary thought.
* Daniel Abishegam reads The Malaysian Insight.