There are (better) alternatives to spoilt votes


Zaidi Azmi
Written by Zaidi Azmi

KUALA LUMPUR – January 29, 2018: If disgruntled voters think that spoilt votes equal that of a loud protest statement, they probably need to revaluate their thinking.

This is because at the end of the day, a spoilt vote that is cast in protest will end up in the same heap as the ones which are spoilt but have no political attachment.

This was the view of Watan executive director Masjaliza Hamzah in relation to the increasingly vocal vote-spoiling movement, #UndiRosak (#SpoilVotes) on social media.

Watan is a non-partisan organisation which aims to inspire more than 2.5 million non-voters aged 21 to 30 to register and vote in elections.

#UndiRosak came about on Twitter shortly after Pakatan Harapan named 92-year-old former prime minister Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad as its prime minister candidate earlier this month.

Its proponents claimed that the clarion call was a manifestation of pent-up frustration over consistent political gaffes committed by both sides of the political divide, adding that it aims to punish them for their supposed indifference to the aspirations of Malaysian youths.

Where Masjaliza agreed with the movement’s initiators over the legality of #UndiRosak, she however explained that there are other ways to take part in democracy aside from spoiling votes.

“Taking part in the democratic process is more than just casting your vote or casting your spoilt ballot once every five years.

“It’s about talking to your elected representatives and giving input on policy matter and making sure politicians do that and are accountable to the people in between elections.

“It’s about campaigning on issues that matter to you and putting it out to others to change their mind and taking notes and organising when a draft structural plan is being tabled,” she wrote in an email to The Mole.

A spoilt vote, added Masjaliza, could be intentional or unintentional and that it could also be many things, such as a blank ballot paper or a defaced ballot.

“Once a vote is deemed spoiled during the counting process, it goes into the same pile without any distinction being made about what the markings indicate or the motivation behind it.

“It’s just another spoilt ballot,” she wrote.



About the author

Zaidi Azmi

Zaidi Azmi

If Zaidi Azmi isn’t busy finding his way in the city, this 26-year-old northern kampung boy can be found struggling to make sense of the Malaysian political scene. Zaidi can be reached at [email protected]