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For the fed up, not voting 'also an option' in GE15

Disappointed in government and opposition alike, they say they will vote based on candidates, or perhaps not at all.

Ahmad Mustakim Zulkifli
2 minute read
A voter casts her ballot with the help of an Election Commission officer during the Melaka state election last November.
A voter casts her ballot with the help of an Election Commission officer during the Melaka state election last November.

Four years ago, Kiridaren Jayakumar joined hands with a number of others under the #UndiRosak campaign to deliberately spoil their votes for the 14th general election (GE14) as a form of protest against the political situation. 

They said the welfare of the people had been sidelined, disagreeing as well with Pakatan Harapan's move to work with former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad after decades of enmity. 

Looking back on his decision today, Kiridaren says his stand has not changed although he is now older and calmer.

He still rejects race-based parties, and says government and opposition alike are lacking in initiatives for reform. 

"I didn't like the opposition for saving too much when they became the government," he told MalaysiaNow when met at his independent bookshop in Petaling Jaya. 

"The government, on the other hand, has no forward-thinking policymakers." 

He said his disappointments and frustrations were shared by many others who sold him their books before migrating to other countries. 

"In general, they are disappointed with the country's politics," he said. 

And as the country gears up for yet another election following the prime minister's move to dissolve Parliament this week, Kiridaren says that once again, he has no intention of voting. 

Elsewhere, Yusnan Yahya feels much the same way. 

For 18 years, he returned faithfully to his home town in Labis, Johor, each time an election was called. 

Now, though, he says he is disappointed with the politicians in Umno who had pressed for an election in the middle of monsoon season. 

Speaking to MalaysiaNow, he said this would complicate efforts to help those affected by floods if such a situation occurs in the midst of the election period. 

"If Umno thinks that a low voter turnout will work to the party's advantage, that is a sign that it doesn't care about the people," he said. 

"Umno is really hoping that a small voter turnout will carry it to victory." 

Such a scenario would be in line with the results of previous state and by-elections where low numbers of voters saw Barisan Nasional winning by a landslide in Melaka and Johor. 

This time around, Yusnan says he will vote based on the candidates and not according to political party. 

Kiridaren meanwhile said those who vote along party lines were becoming increasingly confused by politicians and the divisions in political blocs resulting in the formation of more and more splinter parties. 

Even identifying the government of the day has become a headache as the incumbent administration is composed of not one but several blocs. 

Fed up, Kiridaren says his philosophy is simple.

"Voting is an option. Not voting is also an option." 

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