PETALING JAYA: Bersih 2.0 chairman Maria Chin Abdullah has called for young voters not to skip the 14th general election (GE14) despite their frustrations over the country’s political situation.
Speaking to FMT, she said she could understand their dissatisfaction with both the ruling government and the opposition, but urged them not to allow such feelings to stop them from casting their ballots on polling day.
She added that those who were angry with what was happening in the country should channel their emotions into positive action for change.
“That action is to go vote, as it would help a lot to contribute towards changes in Malaysia.
“A lot of messages are put out there but if this is still not enough for these youths to feel encouraged, then I guess there is nothing that we can do. It has to come from themselves.”
She was responding to findings by an International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM) electoral study group last month on a nationwide study it had carried out.
The survey found that more than half of the total 1,092 voters polled, aged between 21 and 35, said they were not interested in politics.
Among the concerns the youths had were on the economy, human rights and freedom of expression.
Maria said the government needed to give youths space for their diverse views.
“The government should not criminalise those who express themselves. When we see someone get arrested for posting something on social media, it is seen as hindering people’s freedom of speech.
“You don’t abuse laws. People get tired and fed up because they are not given enough space,” she said, adding that this contributed to youngsters’ lack of interest.
There has been much debate of late on the #UndiRosak movement which calls for voters to spoil their ballots to demonstrate their frustration.
The campaign has been countered by another movement, #ForwardTogether. Led by the Organisation for National Empowerment (ONE), it seeks to reverse youths’ attitude from one of indifference to one with a positive outlook for Malaysia’s future.