There’re better ways to dissent than #Undirosak - By Commander S THAYAPARAN (Retired) Royal Malaysian Navy
Saturday, January 27, 2018
Malaysiakini : “Whatever question arose, a swarm of
these drones, without having finished their buzzing on a previous theme,
flew over to the new one and by their hum drowned and obscured the
voices of those who were disputing honestly.” ― Leo Tolstoy, ‘War and Peace’
COMMENT | If you want to get your
message across that the opposition should change, there are better ways
to go about it without spoiling your vote or choosing not to vote. I understand the dissatisfaction young people have for the political
mainstream. Most emails I receive are from young Malaysians who are
extremely dissatisfied with the current system. When we have young
opposition leaders writing op-ed pieces of how their older, more
experienced “leaders” tell them why it is important for the former prime
minister to lead the charge and like compliant kids, they pass this
message on to other young people, I cringe.
There is a difference between advocating for committing to the game
the opposition has chosen to play and indoctrinating young people with
the poisoned dreams of old men. I realise sometimes that the two are not
mutually exclusive, and I did say, I was part of the problem. However,
there are more productive ways to demonstrate dissatisfaction for the
political mainstream than advocating that voters spoil their votes or
not vote at all.
You could help opposition parties like PSM who are going against the
mainstream political establishment. Instead of spoiling your vote or not
voting because you think mainstream politics sucks – and it does – you
could volunteer to be part of PSM’s election machinery and spread the
word to drain the swamp in Putrajaya.
It really does not matter if PSM does not have candidates in your
area. They have various criteria for their candidates where they
contest, but young people who may not believe in socialism could show
their dissatisfaction with the political mainstream by helping parties
like PSM win in the areas they are contesting in. This way even if you
vote for an opposition candidate in your area, you would be encouraging
dissent within the opposition by helping political parties like PSM win. How 'powerful' is your vote? Undi Power will tell you. The mainstream political establishment vilifies grassroots political
parties like PSM. PSM needs all the help they can get and if the youth
vote is with them or if intelligent urban people canvass for them and
inspire young people to vote for political parties like PSM, these
so-called mosquito parties could become more effective in the political
This is a better way to register dissatisfaction with Pakatan Harapan
because it enables grassroots-level activism and its concerns, which
affect the majority of Malaysians, an avenue of expression in mainstream
And if people snarkily tell you not to rock the opposition boat, you
could give them the finger too because you are encouraging people to
vote and voting in PSM would definitely enable the kind of change that
the mainstream oppositional politics claims it wants but always has to
bow down at the altar of political expediency.
Even if PSM drains votes and the opposition loses the seat, young
people who voted for the party are secure in the knowledge that they
voted for change even if they failed. I have always maintained that the
opposition should embrace PSM into its ranks and what the opposition
needs to counter the mainstream politics of Bersatu - and in many ways,
the DAP - is a political party like PSM.
Young people, instead of advocating that people spoil their vote or
not vote, should instead rally around young independent candidates who
stand for election or should encourage more young independents to stand
for election as a viable alternative to the current ‘old man politics’
in this country.
Why? Because if more young people who are not satisfied with the
choices offered would actually take a stand, maybe they would get other
young people interested in the democratic process. Who knows, a youth
tsunami could establish a young political base of independents aligned
with the opposition but grounded firmly in the issues that the
opposition often times chooses to ignore because of political, racial
and religious expediency.
Think of it this way. If a young candidate is voted in, beating Umno
and Harapan candidates, then Harapan has a young vanguard which would
calibrate the flexibility of Harapan when it comes to certain issues. If
Harapan loses because the youth candidate drains votes, Harapan learns
that they should not take the youth vote for granted. The important
thing is young people are voting and Harapan learns a lesson.
Of course, for this coming election, it may be too late. Youth
movements to be effective needs planning and commitment, so young people
who say they are disenchanted with the system should begin the hard
work of organising, now. I would do my part by using this platform to
ask people to consider young candidates. I have never had a problem,
being on the receiving end of opposition opprobrium.
The point here is that people are voting, even though whom they vote
for and how they go about expressing their dissatisfaction in the ballot
box upsets the opposition and maybe even the Umno establishment.
Lastly, I would like to end this piece with this sentence from Malaysiakini columnist Maryam Lee’s piece,
“Well, here's news. If allowing BN to win in elections means national
treachery, that would mean a lot of people have been selling out their
country for the past six decades. “ I have been saying this for years.
All I know is that Malaysia will not become a crap-hole country if
the opposition loses this election. It will eventually become a crap
hole if young people do not rise up and change the system.