Don't take the electorate for fools!
- It is deeply disconcerting for us to see the unfolding events on the on-going exodus of UMNO assemblymen and parliamentarians from their party whom we had earlier thought that they will rise to be a formidable opposing force post GE14. After all one of the hallmark of a functioning and strong democracy is a strong opposition as a counterbalancing force and checks on power.
- Party- hopping not only subverts the will of the people who vote them in but it makes a mockery of the democratic process and indeed undermines trust of voters in the electoral system and party system.
- Such posturing of elected reps post formation of new government if for personal gain, self-interests and position must be strongly condemned.
- It also undermines the very essence of the political party system. It suggests that MPs who party hop have no interests or commitments to their party's ideological positions. Indeed, it suggests MPs are merely into politics for personal gain and not for public service. It also suggests that MPs are not interested in building up their own parties or advancing their party's ideological position within public discourse or to improve good governance in the country.
- We note that 41 countries including India, NZ and Singapore who require MPs to relinquish their seats if they wish to cross party. In Malaysia anti-party hopping laws have been held by the courts and are currently deemed unconstitutional. Hence there is a need for more debates and discussions on not just the morality of such party-hopping behavior and defections but also the need for electoral reform including imposing some form of rules or guidelines on political parties or parliamentarians themselves whilst not denying them the freedom to dissociate/associate. This may include a law that allows the certain percentage of voters of a particular constituency to trigger or petition for a recall of their MP to hold elected representatives to account to the people. This will be on the basis of stated serious wrongdoing or misconduct and a by-election will be called and the people’s mandate sought.
- Lastly as a concerned citizens-action group working on voter empowerment, we call on Pakatan Harapan parties to be act responsibly so as not to trigger any instability in the political system including within its own coalition. It will take much more than just the PM in-waiting declaring that PKR will not accept such party hoppers.
Dated 14th Dec 2018
Issued by Rise of Sarawak Efforts ( ROSE)
Media contact and spokesperson : Ann Teo 016-8604998
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