“Deliberately spoiling your vote is not going to solve anything,” says SUHAKAM Commissioner Jerald Joseph.
“The right to vote is an inalienable right for every citizen. No party on earth can take that away from you. How ever you want to vote, is entirely within your rights as a citizen to do so. Who you choose is not a decision the state has to be bothered about, since the right to vote for whoever you want is your own choice to do so. And this includes spoiling your own vote,” he continues.
But the discussion was never about the legality of such deliberately spoiling your vote, rather the conversation is always about the ethical aspect of it instead.
“Voters are frustrated with the democratic process and the choices presented to them at the polls, but spoiling your vote does not ease up the democratic frustrations at all,” Jerald says.
The problem of democracy cannot be resolved by just ‘opting out’ of ‘negative voting’ by spoiling your vote
Voter sentiment is indeed swaying violently across the political spectrum.
An anonymous voter has voiced on social media, “a government that purposely makes it hard for the citizens to participate in the democratic process must have lots to hide from the citizens it governs. And those who collude with it to frustrate the process should be ashamed.”
Such is the reactions seen from the regular voter and hence one could deduce why the movement to call for purposefully spoiling your vote, or #undirosak for short, is on the rise.
“We all can deduce why the #undirosak movement came about, and all of these deductions made by anyone could very well be true,” says Jerald.
“Particularly the young voters who may not have experienced the older generation of politics. They want things fast, and they want things done now. That is natural, but the problem of democracy cannot be resolved by just ‘opting out’ of ‘negative voting’ by spoiling your vote,” he continues.
With voter frustration peaking as the general elections loom, what would be the solution to all these frustrations?
“The answer to these frustrations is an extremely simple one if you really consider it. To participate in the voting process and to cast your vote, even if it is ‘the lesser of two evils’ is enough to manage the democratic frustrations of the people,” says Jerald.
“No one country is perfect in its democracy. Not even the oldest democracy in the world, not the biggest democracy in the world. Everyone has their own peculiarities and troubles. And certainly Malaysia has its own quirks and issues to manage with regards to our own democratic process."
"But that does not give any voter the argument that you should spoil your vote. In my view, this doesn’t address the political and democratic challenges that the nation has to face,” he adds.
Watch the full interview with SUHAKAM Commissioner Jerald Joseph