“Why I am not voting this coming state election?”

Letter to Editor

BEFORE you condemn me for foregoing my democratic right to cast my ballot, I want to clearly state that I am still a democrat at heart. I have diligently voted in the past three general elections and not voting is as much an expression of political stance as it is voting. 

I am also aware that the right to vote is not universal and many people living in repressive regimes do not share this “luxury”. I do cherish my right to vote as a citizen in a democratic country.

However in this state election, I am boycotting the polls as a matter of principle. It’s my way of expressing my dissatisfaction over the way political players manipulate voters and take advantage of our electoral system for their selfish aims.

Let me cite the 15th General Election (GE15) as an example.

I voted for Pakatan Harapan (PH) in 2022 with the hopes of kicking the racist and corrupt UMNO out but lo and behold, after GE15, following a series of backroom deals and horse-trading, we have the UMNO president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi who’s facing 47 corruption charges, as the second most powerful man in the country.

Even if I vote, the outcome may be different from the ideals espoused by candidates or their parties during campaigning.

I still remember during GE15 campaigning, Communication and Digital Minister Fahmi Fadzil (among many PH leaders) said that one vote for UMNO’s Khairy Jamaluddin in Sungai Buloh was one vote for Zahid. We all know how that turned out. 

How am I supposed to not feel disillusioned over how my political expression has been hijacked?

To make matters worse, the unity government has started going back on its words, such as not using the Sedition Act and no appointments in government-linked companies (GLCs), on top of many unfulfilled electoral pledges. 

While I am angry with the unity government, I also cannot bring myself to vote for Perikatan Nasional (PN). To me, their leaders have extreme views that are not suitable for multi-racial Malaysia.

PH-BN and PN are like the devil and the deep blue sea. Explain to me why I need to vote again. 

How do I know that my vote will not be hijacked and manipulated again if I decide to go to the polls on Aug 12? 

For example, will the current Selangor menteri besar or Penang chief minister be retained if his coalition wins? PH leaders say so. But then again, UMNO also promised it would retain its incumbent Johor menteri besar after last year’s state election but post-election, another candidate was sworn in.

I had just voted last November. I was full of hope and eagerness when I marked “X” on the ballot paper and dipped my finger in the indelible ink. This time around, I think I have grown wiser. 

For those who feel the same, boycotting the election is also a form of political expression.

I hope the absence of me and those like me from polling stations will send a strong message to our leaders that we are not to be taken for granted or for a ride. – Aug 3, 2023


Michael Sah

The views expressed are solely of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Focus Malaysia.


Main photo credit: The Daily Pennsylvanian

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