Monday, January 15, 2024

FIXED TERM PARLIAMENTARY ACT - a good idea, but this will not ensure Anwar will remain PM until GE16?

FIXED TERM PARLIAMENTARY ACT - good as it will FIX the upcoming date of the next General Elections, and there will be no more uncertainty of when GE16 would be. At present, the date of the next General Elections depends primarily on the sitting Prime Minister and government, and the date of the elections can be anytime usually after 4 - 5 years. Malaysia experienced this 'uncertainty' in the last General Elections - so fixing in advance the next Election Date is good. 

Uncertainty of the upcoming elections, puts not just 'distracts' potential contesting parties and candidates in terms of preparation rather than focusing on the questions of governance. Time and resources are 'wasted' in making preparation for elections, and this also affects the work of the Election Commission and the large number of part-timers, usually from civil service that are roped in to help in the conduct of an elections - their trainings, the acquisition of venues that will serve as voting centres, etc. 

In GE15, nominations was Nov 5, and polling was on 19 November 2023. A FIXED TERM PARLIAMENTARY ACT will maybe fix NOW that GE16 polling dates will be on 19 November 2028(or maybe the nearest weekend). This is GOOD as this will end the uncertainty of when the next election date is and will help everyone focus on governance, and it will also be good for the economy. 

It will end the practice of the government of the day picking a date or time that is most favorable to the government and the government parties.

Such an ACT will also be good for Parliamentarians who will know exactly how much time they have to do what they envisioned for their constituency when the chose to contest and get elected.

HOWEVER, this FIXED TERM PARLIAMENTARY ACT will not provide Security of Tenure for the Prime Minister, and his/her government(Cabinet) - only a security of tenure for the MPs. 

In Malaysia, it is not the people that choose and vote for a Prime Minister - it is the elected MPs that decide on who will be the Prime Minister, and when a sitting Prime Minister will be removed  - and this is GOOD. The MPs(the peoples' representative) is vested with this power. It is absurd to keep a Prime Minister for a fixed term, more so after the people have already lost confidence of such a Prime Minister. Why was there a loss of support - maybe it was found that he/she was a LIAR, who represented himself/herself as one kind of person committed to this and that reforms., but as time passes, the people(also through their MPs) see that they gave him/her their vote of confidence based on a 'misrepresentation' - then, a speedy removal of that Prime Minister is best for the country.

It was sad that former Prime Minister Najib, who now have been found wanting and is currently a convict serving a prison term, was not removed as the Prime Minister when this issue was discovered. The people failed, or rather it was the then sitting MPs that failed. Was it because of the fact that party and party leadership 'LOYALTY' was a bigger determining factor rather than the best interest of the people of Malaysia? Note that Najib could have been removed as Prime Minister, and another MP from the same coalition could have been appointed as the NEW Prime Minister - resulting in the SAME coalition of parties continuing to rule/govern Malaysia? 

It is most sad that some Malaysian MPs do not place the interest of the people and Malaysia as the most important priority being PEOPLES' REPRESENTATIVES. It is different with Senators, who in Malaysia are not chosen and elected directly by the people, but are appointed by the then 'government' of the State or Federal Government. 

Thus, it looks bad on Malaysian Members of Parliament, who seems to prioritize something else other than the best interest of their constituents, the people of Malaysia and Malaysia. Malaysians should open their eyes and CHOOSE as their MPs people of good character who will act always based on principles and values for the best interest of the people and Malaysia according to their view - and not blindly because the party ordered them, or for worry of loss of personal monies or positions.

Why did a MP give his confidence to a fellow MP to be the Prime Minister? Was it because of a promise of a Cabinet position, a promise of monies or a position in some government or government linked agency or entity? A large oversized cabinet potentially suggest this. The appointment of back-bencher MPs to positions by government suggest this.

Azalina says that the proposed  FIXED TERM PARLIAMENTARY ACT is to honour electoral mandate - but the electorate just chose the MPs, not the Prime Minister or the government that is formed post elections. If there was a election for the Prime Minister, and Anwar was the person chosen by the people directly through an elections to be the Prime Minister - then keeping Anwar Ibrahim until the end of his term is honoring the electoral mandate - but not so in Malaysia. 

The same government can stay in power, but the Prime Minister who loses confidence of the majority of MPs cannot remain as PM and a new PM is chosen. Remember, Muhyiddin was replaced by Ismail Sabri but the SAME Coalition government stayed in power. Likewise, the PH-BN and others(the UNITY government coalition) can remain in power even if Prime Minister Anwar was replaced by another Prime Minister. 

Of interest is the fact of what happened in the United Kingdom, where the Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011 was enacted, and then later repealed in 2022 by the Dissolution and Calling of Parliament Act 2022.

The Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011 (c. 14) (FTPA) was an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom which, for the first time, set in legislation a default fixed election date for general elections in the United Kingdom. 

The Act provided that an early elections could still be held if more that two thirds of the MPs supported the motion.  On 18 April 2017, Prime Minister Theresa May announced her intention to call a general election for 8 June 2017, bringing the United Kingdom's 56th Parliament to an end after two years and 32 days. The FTPA permitted this, but required two-thirds of the Commons (at least 434 MPs) to support the motion to allow it to be passed.[44] Jeremy Corbyn, then the Leader of the Opposition and the Labour Party indicated that he was in support of an election. The motion was passed the following day by 522 votes to 13 votes.[45]

It remained in force until 2022, when it was repealed

Since then, as before its passage, elections are required by law to be held at least once every five years, but can be called earlier if the prime minister advises the monarch to exercise the royal prerogative to do so. Prime ministers have often employed this mechanism to call an election before the end of their five-year term, sometimes fairly early in it. Critics have said this gives an unfair advantage to the incumbent prime minister, allowing them to call a general election at a time that suits them electorally. While it was in force, the FTPA removed this longstanding power of the prime minister.[1][2]

In my opinion, Malaysia should enact a FIXED TERM PARLIAMENTARY ACT that fixes the date of the next General Elections - Certainty is good.

However, there must be provisions for an EARLIER election date if:-

a) There is a RESOLUTION supported by more that two thirds of all MPs; or

b) After the resignation of the Prime Minister, by reason of loss of confidence of the majority of MPs, resignation of the PM, or the disqualification of the Prime Minister as an MP, AND there is a failure to get a new Prime Minister by reason of failure to secure the support or confidence of the majority of the MPs after 3 attempts(or a defined period of maybe 1 month)

HOWEVER, the term of the Prime Minister and his/her Cabinet cannot be FIXED - The idea of a person remaining as Prime Minister after he/she has lost the confidence of the majority is simply ABSURD. 

Proposal for fixed-term Parliament law is to honour electoral mandate, says Azalina

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PETALING JAYA: Allegations that efforts to introduce a law to ensure a full five-year term for an elected government is a desperate move are wide off the mark, says Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said.

The Minister in the Prime Minister's Department (Law and Institutional Reforms) said the proposal reflects the unity government's commitment to respect the electoral mandate.

"It is to reflect the government's commitment under the leadership of the Prime Minister to respect the electoral mandate, democratic processes and to ensure political stability, particularly in the current uncertain geopolitical situation," she said in a statement on Sunday (Jan 14).

Earlier, PAS rejected the proposal by Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi to introduce a fixed-term law for an elected government to remain in power for five years.

PAS secretary-general Datuk Seri Takiyuddin Hasan described the effort as a "desperate move to remain in power".

Azalina said that the Legal Affairs Division will conduct an in-depth study, including an impact study, as well as seek public opinion to enact such a law.

"The Cabinet will use the comprehensive research findings as a policy consideration," she said, adding that engagement sessions with all relevant stakeholders will be conducted in the near future. Star, 15/1/2023



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