Why I am not voting this coming state election — Michael Sah

(MMO) – Before you condemn me for foregoing by democratic right to cast my ballot, I want to clearly state that I am still a democrat at heart. I have diligently voted in the past three general elections and not voting is as much an expression of political stance, as it is voting.

I am also aware that the right to vote is not universal and many living in repressive regimes do not share this “luxury”. And I do cherish my right to vote as a citizen in a democratic country.

But this state election, I am boycotting the polls as a matter of principle. It’s my way of expressing my unhappiness over the way political players manipulate voters and take advantage of our electoral system for their selfish aims.

Let me cite the last general election as an example. I voted for Pakatan Harapan in 2022 with the hopes of kicking the racist and corrupt Umno out. But lo and behold, after GE15, following a series of backroom deals and horse-trading, we have the Umno president, who’s facing 47 corruption charges, as the second most powerful man in the country.

Put another way, even if I vote, the outcome may be different from the ideals espoused by candidates or their parties during campaigning. I still remember that during GE15 campaigning, PKR’s Fahmi Fadzil (among many PH leaders) had said that one vote for Umno’s Khairy Jamaluddin in Sungai Buloh was one vote for Zahid Hamidi, the Umno president. We all know how that turned out.

How am I supposed to not feel disillusioned over how my political expression has been hijacked? To make matters worse, the unity government has started going back on its words such as not using the Sedition Act, no appointments in GLCs, on top of many unfulfilled electoral pledges.

But while I am angry with the unity government, I also cannot bring myself to vote for Perikatan Nasional. To me, their leaders have extreme views that are not suitable for multiracial Malaysia.

PH-BN and PN are like the devil and the deep blue sea. Explain to me why I need to vote again? How do I know that my vote will not be hijacked and manipulated again if I decide to go to the polls on Aug 12?

For example, will the current Menteri Besar in Selangor or Chief Minister in Penang be retained if his coalition wins? PH leaders say so. But then again, Umno also promised it would retain its incumbent Johor Menteri Besar after last year’s state election. But post-election, another candidate was sworn in.

I had just voted last November. I was full of hope and eagerness when I marked “X” on the ballot paper and dipped my finger in the indelible ink. This time around, I think I have grown wiser.

For those who feel the same, boycotting the election is also a form of political expression. I hope the absence of me and those like me from polling the station will send a strong message to our leaders that we are not to be taken for granted nor for a ride.