PUTRAJAYA (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Former Malaysian premier Mahathir Mohamad has urged voters not to boycott the upcoming polls, as he responded to social media discussions that voters should perhaps give the general election a miss, or spoil their votes.
He said that those who chose not to vote are being "shallow-minded".
According to the chatter on social media groups, using hashtags such as #undirosak (spoilt votes) and #protespru (protest the elections), the polls present poor choices for Malaysians who want change.
The ruling Barisan Nasional coalition is led by Prime Minister Najib Razak, and the alternative is for voters to choose the main opposition alliance led by Tun Dr Mahathir.
Not everyone is keen to see Dr Mahathir leading the opposition or supportive of the plan to make him prime minister again should the opposition take power.
Dr Mahathir said: "I think this is the way some shallow-minded people see things in this country. We need a change in this country.
"If we didn't need a change, I won't be bothered to be involved because I'm 92 years old, going on to 93. I don't want to become PM."
The chairman of the opposition Pakatan Harapan alliance was speaking at a news conference in Putrajaya on Tuesday (Jan 23).
"Each vote counts, even though we think that this boycott will only effect 1 per cent of the turnout."
He said the youth wings from all four Pakatan parties will engage young people on the issue of boycotting the polls.
Unlike in Singapore, voting is not compulsory in Malaysia.