Thursday, June 25, 2020

Automatic Elections if MP hops to another party? If still enjoy confidence of people, they will get elected again?

'Party Hopping' is a serious issue in Malaysia, and the question is whether the people in the constituency still wants the said Member of Parliament or State Assembly Person as their peoples' representative.

In Malaysia, the reality is sadly that many people vote very much depending on which political party the candidate is contesting under. The position and stance of the party is a material consideration - not so much the individual candidate's personal values, principles, positions or stance on issues..

So, when a BN MP jumped and joint a Pakatan Harapan or PH friendly party - the presumption is that he/she would not have been chosen if he had contested under that PH party during the last General Elections. More so, if there was a contesting candidate during that GE from that PH party or some party that were rejected by the constituents.

Same applies for a PKR or a DAP MP/ADUN who jumped and joined some other BN party, or even chose to become an Independent.

BEST SOLUTION - Any party hopping will automatically result in a loss of seat ...and there will be a new Elections at the said constituency, where importantly will allow that 'party hopping' peoples' representative to contest again.

Election results will PROVE whether the people in that particular constituency still wants the SAME person as their peoples' rep(MP or ADUN) or they want some other. Remember, in Malaysia, even Independent candidates can win.

Remember some MPs/ADUNs may leave their political party because of a very good principled reason - maybe a strong disagreement with the party's position on a crucial issue - hence the FREEDOM of MPs/ADUNs to leave parties must not be hindered > BUT the important question that must be determined is whether the people in that constituency still wants the said person as their MP or ADUN....a re-elections will give people the RIGHT to decide on this very important question.

If there is NO new election - NO new mandate of the people, any such MPs who jumped parties, or became an independent, or from being an independent became a party member - the QUESTION lingers on whether the said MP or ADUN truly represent the people of their constituency or not.

Some political parties also do KICK OUT certain MPs/ADUNs from their party for all kinds of reasons, meaning that MP/ADUN did not himself/herself resign or leave the party - What then? Again, the best solution would be again a RE-ELECTIONS - for the people to decide again (or re-confirm) whether they want the said person still as their MP or ADUN.

Other countries have such laws, and one example here of such provisions that disqualifies MPs that jump parties could be seen in Uganda in Article(83) of their Constitution, where it is stated that ‘…a Member of Parliament may lose his or her seat in any of the following instances—
               - On resignation in writing to the Speaker;
               - If he or she subsequently ceases to qualify to be a Member of Parliament;
               - If he or she is absent from 15 sittings without permission of the Speaker;
               - If he or she is found guilty of violation of the Leadership Code of Conduct;
- If he or she joins another party or leaves the party and decides to remain an Independent member;
- If a member was elected as an independent and joins a party; or
               - On appointment as a public officer….

Malaysia should have a similar law. Today, one wonders whether MPs/ADUNs still have the confidence of their constituents to continue to represent himself/herself as their MP/ADUN.

Let's not allow PEOPLE's right in our Parliamentary Democracy be denied, by allowing a 'FAKE" peoples' representative to continue representing and making decisions on behalf of his/her constituents.

Even in Parliament, MPs are addressed as 'Gombak', 'Langkawi', 'Batu' - clearly because they are there representing the people of the constituency being Gombak, Langkawi, Bentong, etc ... so, the best solution is an automatic disqualification followed by an Elections again in the constituency, where there is no bar whatsoever for the existing MP/ADUn recontesting to confirm that he has the needed mandate of his constituents.

REMOVAL OF MP/ADUN by the people > This also should be a right available to constituents. Maybe a signed petition(or SD), of more than 50% of the constituents, who were registered voters at the last elections, would be sufficient to call for a NEW Elections at that particular constituency? 

A Prime Minister, who loses the confidence of the majority of MPs, cannot remain Prime Minister...Likewise, a MP/ADUN who loses the confidence of the majority of his/her constituents, the very people he/she is representing SHOULD trigger a new elections for the people to choose again their LEGITIMATE representative to Parliament/State Legislative Assembly - don't you think?

IF any MP/ADUN oppose the idea of an immediate re-elections, where he/she can also re-contest, then he/she simply fails to understand Parliamentay Democracy or DEMOCRACY - you are chosen by the people to represent the people ...


Other points

Freedom of Association - true everyone has the freedom to join or leave any political party > BUT the issue here is whether you still enjoy the support of your constituents when this happens. Remember, in that new by-election, the voters can still choose the MP/ADUN who left a party or not - LET the people decide.

What if an MP leaves DAP and joins PKR, another party within the PH Coalition > the same principle must apply - re-elections. 

Electoral pacts or Party Coalitions matter not - if not why did not all the BN or PH parties, simply dissolve their parties and all be members of a new PH or BN party? In any pacts or 'coalitions', independent parties do have their difference position, principle and values - and such 'pacts' or 'coalitions' are normally simply 'temporary' based usually on certain agreed positions and values, or could be based on simply 'power' or 'strategy'. Electoral pacts are sometimes simply to enhance chances of winning by an agreement that parties will place just candidate from one party, and others will work towards the success of that candidate ...

I wonder how many PKR or MCA candidate would have won if not for such 'pacts' or 'coalition' agreements. PAS and UMNO now have a similar 'electoral pact' for the next GE, where they will not contest against each other to enhance the chances of victory for PAS or UMNO candidates ...


Bersih 2.0: Voters should have right to 'fire' party-hopping MPs

KUALA LUMPUR: Voters should be given the power to "hire and fire" their wakil rakyat, including Members of Parliament who hop between political parties.

Bersih 2.0 resource person, Wong Chui Huat, feels this is the only solution to the growing problem, as it is difficult to implement an anti-hopping law, which requires constitutional reforms, including changes to Article 10 of the Federal Constitution.

"It is not a matter of constitutional reforms. It is a democratic conflict against the law.

"We shouldn't forget that we need to preserve the mandate of voters by allowing them to decide whether party hopping is acceptable or not," he said, adding that for anti-hopping laws to be effective, a party should be allowed to sack an MP as soon as he or she defects.

"Anti-hopping laws won't work because we have a coalition system where the voter would be voting for a trinity and not the person or the party."

Speaking during the Zoom Bersih 2.0 Sabah forum 'Protecting Voters' Mandate: Anti-hopping law or Recall Election' session last night, Wong said the Election Commission (EC) should hold an election not to hire, but fire.

"This means that party hoping is allowed for members with the approval of voters, instead of for their own interests".

Another panellist, Sabah Umno leader Datuk Abdul Rahman Dahlan, said a recall election is something interesting to be considered, but which must have a time frame.

"For instance, if your party isn't performing as it had promised after a year, then maybe leaving the party can be considered. Recall election is a good idea, provided the threshold for petitions is set very high, maybe 51 per cent of registered voters should support the hop," he added.

In Sabah, Rahman said the parties are less strong and rely a lot on their leaders.

"If you notice, leaders have more influence on each party member, as compared to love for the party.

That is why when a leader takes a leap, his supporters behind him would also do the same," said Rahman, a former federal minister and now Tuaran Umno chief.

Rahman added that the opposition is important or the nation to move forward because they help in the crucial check and balance of the government.

"I think we should create a culture where the opposition is not treated as an outcast.

"I've seen some opposition MPs who speak in Parliament with nothing but only the best interests of the nation at heart. We should change this mindset, that it's okay to be an opposition member.

"When I was a minister, I was one of the first Umno ministers who invited the opposition to visit me in my office and have a by-partisan discussion and participation when there was a problem. We must first stop treating the opposition as outcasts and try to include them in the decision making process," Rahman said.

Speaking on the federal constitution, he said Article 10's freedoms for assembly, speech and association should be re-looked at.

Rahman also said politicians should be kept out of development matters.

"Leave it to civil society, and even if you wish to show your support to the ruling party, you don't have to jump. Instead, the MP or Adun can still show support through Parliament voting sessions," he said.

Upko secretary-general Nelson Angang said that even an anti-hopping law would not be able to stop an elected representative from doing so.

"Even legal opinion is that an anti-hopping law would not stop the phenomenon.

"Sabah is known for its colourful history of party hopping."

Nelson said the trend now is that you resign to become an independent first, before joining another political party.

"We should also look at why someone is hopping … if there is no demand, I believe no one would simply make a jump," he said.

Parties should also amend their constitution by not accepting hoppers into a new party for a certain period of time," he added.

In late February this year, several MPs from the Pakatan Harapan government exited the coalition, causing the collapse of the federal government. This led to the formation of the loose Perikatan Nasional bloc a week after that political impasse.

While admitting that Article 10 (1)(c) of the Federal Constitution allows freedom of association, he said an MP must seek the approval of his or her voters too before jumping ship.

He also referred to a Supreme Court decision in 1992 in Kelantan between the state legislative assembly and Nordin Salleh.

In that case, the court came to the conclusion that an amendment to the Kelantan constitution, which prohibited party-hopping, was inconsistent with Article 10(1)(c) of the Federal Constitution.

The forum was moderated by Bersih 2.0 Sabah's Beverly Joeman. - New Straits Times, 25/6/2020

No comments: