‘Peeved voters may boycott polls’

Raja Petra Kamarudin says voters are now faced with an unappealing choice – a candidate from a party that is despised or a despicable candidate from a party that they like.

(Free Malaysia Today) – Faced with a Catch-22 predicament, blogger Raja Petra Kamarudin said voters might choose to abstain from casting their ballots in the next general election.

In an interview with FMT, he critcised Pakatan Rakyat for offering third-rate candidates and shutting the door on quality candidates brought forth by the Malaysian Civil Liberties Movement (MCLM), which he founded.

“We (the voters) have to choose between a candidate from a party that we don’t like and a very poor quality candidate from a party that we like. So what do we do now?” he asked.

He also pointed out that not all in Barisan Nasional were “useless” and warned the opposition bloc that if it forced the people to choose between candidates in terms of quality, the votes might go in favour of the ruling coalition.

‘These are wakil rakyat, not wakil parti’

Raja Petra, who is currently living in London, also dismissed Pakatan’s argument that outsiders should not meddle into party affairs with regard to candidates.

He said that if it was a party election, then the argument would hold sway but this was a general election.

“We are choosing a ‘wakil rakyat’. What does a ‘wakil rakyat’ mean, it is a representative of the people and the people, is me. I’m the people. I’m the one who is going to choose… don’t we the people have a right in voicing out, to express our opinions about the quality of candidates?

“You’re asking us to vote for these candidates to represent us. These are not ‘wakil parti’…,” he added.

As for MCLM, Raja Petra said it swung into action after Pakatan supremo Anwar Ibrahim claimed that the opposition could not convince professionals and civil society figures to step into the political arena.

“So we told Anwar, let us try… let us approach the same people who you approached… let us try to convince them… of course (they’ll stand) on your party ticket, whether PAS, PKR or DAP,” he said.

Raja Petra said MCLM explained to these candidates that they did not need to join any of the opposition parties but could contest under their banners.

Initially, he recalled, those approached had refused but “we told them: ‘look, do this as a national duty, we know it’s going to be troublesome, we know there’s going to be a lot of aggravation and you have to sacrifice a lot, you’re so busy, you’ve got a successful business and stuff like that… but look, forget about your personal losses, personal suffering and personal inconveniences, think of the nation. Do this as a national service. Do it for the rakyat. Just one term, that’s all we ask, just to help get quality candidates for Pakatan’.”