PRESS STATEMENT ON MANAGING DEFECTIONS AND PARTY SWITCHING (10/8/2020)
KUALA LUMPUR (10 AUG 2020) – Tindak Malaysia views with concern the recent spate of elected representatives betraying the trust of their electorate by switching allegiance to parties which the voters had rejected. This makes a mockery of the democratic electoral process.
Tindak Malaysia supports the call to enact an Anti Party Hopping Law in order to prevent such political shenanigans. Additionally, Tindak Malaysia also proposes legislation that provides for Recall Elections to handle other circumstances where the elected representatives have failed to fulfill the mandate given to them by the people.
The unprecedented level of defections in 2020 which has resulted in the collapse of governments elected by the people at both federal and state levels is a major cause for concern. Voters have expressed their disgust at being betrayed and may choose to boycott future elections. This would be a major blow to the democratic process.
News reports suggest that the primary motivator for party hopping in Malaysia has been money. The sums said to have been offered for changing allegiance are staggering. If true, this not only gives disproportionate political power to the wealthy, but it also becomes the driver for the accumulation of massive wealth by whatever means. This is presumably what has caused the culture of widespread corruption, purportedly for the sake of the party.
In the Malaysian electoral system, voters elect individual candidates to represent them. But political campaigns are almost always about party and coalition. The people vote for the group of people they want as a government. Candidates are elected only to enable the party or coalition they represent to be in power. Party hopping betrays this trust.
The proposed Anti Party Hopping Law will disqualify a legislator who resigns from the party from continuing with his or her term in the legislature. This will deter the elected representatives from betraying the trust of their voters.
A Recall Election is a procedure for the voters to review the performance of their legislator through a direct vote. It is a more complex and more expensive process, but which can become necessary if a single representative or a group of representatives betrays the voters’ trust without leaving the party. This includes the entire party switching coalitions and expulsion from the party.
Tindak Malaysia opines that elected representatives must be compelled by law to honour promises made to their electorate as far as is reasonably possible. Representatives are elected specifically to represent the voters. Mechanisms are needed to ensure that such elected representatives effectively represent the people who voted for them. Appropriate legislation is needed for this.
Tindak Malaysia, 10 August 2020
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