PUTRAJAYA: Dr Mahathir Mohamad today accused Barisan Nasional (BN) of being behind a movement to boycott the next general election, saying it was a ploy to ensure the coalition’s victory over Pakatan Harapan (PH).
“Many of the calls to boycott the election come from Umno, who say there is no difference between PH and Najib (Razak), so they tell voters not to vote or to destroy their voting slip,” he said at a press conference today.
He said the boycott call was also targeted at fence-sitters who had yet to decide who to vote for at the next polls.
“They are not against PH or BN, but the benefits of not voting will go to BN and not favour PH.
“Every vote counts. This is why we are against the boycott. If you boycott the election, you are keeping Najib as your PM,” the PH chairman said.
The boycott call comes amid discontent within opposition circles over the nomination of Mahathir as PH’s prime ministerial candidate, should the coalition win the next polls.
On social media, hashtags such as #UndiRosak, #SpoiltVote, #ProtesPRU and #GEProtest have been used to mobilise support for the movement, prompting some activists to speak out against the campaign.
Mahathir said PH’s youth leaders would counter the campaign by explaining to youths the importance of exercising their right to vote.
He said those who were not bothered about the future of Malaysia were small in number.
“These people make up 1% of the voters, but we do not like the fact that they do not understand politics. Or those who say that this country is going to the dogs, they don’t care and if things come to that, they will migrate to Australia.
“We do not like that thinking,” said Mahathir.
He also described as “shallow-minded” those who claim that there is no difference between him and Najib.
“I am 92 going on 93, I really do not want to become prime minister,” he said, adding however that there was a consensus to appoint him as prime minister.
“I think I have some experience from 1946 until now. I have all kinds of experience like living under colonial rule, Japanese rule, and I think I know a little bit about politics which I can use to help the new government in tackling a lot of problems.
“The seventh prime minister is going to have a tough job. He will have to solve the problems created by Najib as he is selling away this country,” he added.