Cash incentive to register as voters not right, says activist

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PETALING JAYA: Rafizi Ramli’s argument for cash-motivated voter registration puts Malaysian voters in a serious dilemma, says anti-sedition and clean-elections activist Adrian Lim Chee En.

This comes following the exchange between the PKR lawmaker and activists Maria Chin Abdullah and Cynthia Gabriel, as the former defended his #UntungDaftar initiative from the latter two’s criticism that it is wrong to lure youngsters to register as voters with cash.

Chin said it was pathetic for an NGO to resort to luring youngsters with cash.

Rafizi then responded with annoyance, saying that it was “below the belt to use the word ‘pathetic’”.

“I didn’t say that about them taking grants to say certain things,” Rafizi had fired back. “To preach on morality…you are more or less (walking) on thin ice…I think it is not proper.”

Lim has, however, come to the defence of Chin and Cynthia, saying Rafizi’s argument would mean, by extension, that NGOs and the Opposition should then be given more money to win the hearts of the youths and to beat the Barisan Nasional.

“This is just not right. I think this is a very, very wrong way of ‘enlightening’ the youths,” Lim said.

“I would have registered as a voter with or without the cash incentive.”

If Rafizi’s claim that youths could be persuaded to register by cash incentives was true, Lim said, Malaysians were in a serious dilemma.

“The youths are registering as voters because of the cash, and not because they feel strongly from the heart that there is a need for change, or a need to stand up for what is right,” Lim said.

Lim also questioned Rafizi’s claim of thousands being induced to register to vote by the cash incentive programme.

“I will be glad to be proven wrong if Rafizi can show the thousands that were motivated by the cash he offered through Ivoke,” Lim said, naming the PKR-linked NGO.

“If the thousands do exist because of the cash incentive, then he is basically making a strong statement that youths in Malaysia only care about political issues to a certain extent, and it takes the cash incentive to actually make a change. He is saying the youths are money-minded.”

Lim pointed out that if money was a true motivator, the Barisan Nasional would beat Rafizi and Invoke “any day”.

“They have RM2.6 billion to spare. Does Rafizi have that much money to ‘lure’ youths to register as voters?” Lim asked, alluding to the sum that was allegedly deposited into the Prime Minister’s personal accounts.