Santiago: Engage, not vilify, #UndiRosak advocates

charles-undi-rosakPETALING JAYA: Personal attacks against advocates of the #UndiRosak movement are uncalled for and should stop immediately, said Klang MP Charles Santiago.

He said although he did not agree with the call to spoil one’s vote as a sign of expressing dissent, it was a legitimate form of the electoral process.

“It’s important for us to understand that a person is also exercising his or her constitutional right by abstaining from voting,” he said in a statement, adding that the advocates should be engaged instead of being vilified.

Santiago was commenting on recent attacks on social media against advocates of the #UndiRosak movement, including political commentator Hafidz Baharom and social activist Maryam Lee.

“It’s appalling that Hafidz has been attacked with derogatory remarks and violent threats.

“And I also vehemently condemn the attacks against Maryam Lee who was also humiliated with sexist and misogynistic remarks because she is a woman.

“It’s deplorable that photos of her were used in sexually explicit ways,” Santiago said.

He said such gutter discourse should stop and instead, there should be constructive engagement where people could speak their minds without being crude, uncouth and disrespectful.

“Having said that I believe that spoiling one’s vote in expressing dissent at a critical juncture in Malaysia’s electoral history cannot be the best alternative going forward.

“And #UndiRosak may not work to deliver the aspirations of its proponents as we do not have free and fair elections or an electoral process that is non-corrupt.

“I therefore do not agree with the position taken by those who are campaigning for #UndiRosak but we certainly need not resort to vulgarity and death threats while doing so,” the DAP MP said.

Santiago, however, said dissenting voices and criticism should be allowed in a democracy.

“As such, the best strategy going forward is to engage them (#UndiRosak advocates).”

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