Saturday, February 14, 2009

Choosing the right candidate

The people of Perak in particular and Malaysians in general were deeply troubled by the way their elected government was ousted from power by the controversial defection of three state assemblypersons. The people did not hide their feelings but expressed in no uncertain means their displeasure of the events that unfolded so rapidly that led to the collapse of their government.

The Independent pollster Merdeka Centre's latest survey revealed that 74 percent of voters in Perak want a fresh election to resolve the political crisis in the state. A whopping 76 percent of respondents expressed that "the people, through elections" should decide who gets to form the government as opposed to 21 percent who felt it was the prerogative of the palace. This reflects a high level of maturity and wisdom of the modern electorate in the country.

What happened in Perak highlights the problem of bringing down the elected government by defection of lawmakers. What were the real motives behind these defections? It may be legal but is it ethical and morally right? Doesn’t it go against the wishes of the people who elected the government in the first place to serve them for the next 5 years? Would it be proper for these defectors to get a new mandate from the people who voted them? It is embarrassing that almost not a day passes without the fear of more defections. Our elected representatives are making a mockery of our democratic system. If we do not act now the “frog system” of democracy will become a national disaster and shame.

Most Malaysians will agree that bringing down a government that is duly elected by the people by the defection of lawmakers, either from BN or PR, though may be legal, but is a despicable act that should be abhorred by all parties. It simply implies total disregard to the wishes of the people who elected them. It would only be fair that these legislators go back to the people for a new mandate before crossing over to the new party for whatever reason. To encourage such a practice effective anti-hopping laws must be enacted and implemented at federal and state levels.

Now we are again in for another 2 by-elections for the Bikit Gantang parliamentary and the Bukit Selambau state seats. There is already a scramble among the political parties for these seats. How will the parties decide on the best candidate for the job? At present sadly it is mainly decided by the race of the individual and the political party to which he belongs. It is unfortunate that personal integrity, morals and merits have little bearing on the choice of candidates.

The Perak experience is a lesson to the political parties especially the PR that they should be extremely stringent in selecting their candidates. They must ensure that only those with high integrity, morals and honesty are selected. Their motive for contesting must be sincere in wanting to serve the people and nothing else. Going by these high standards it may be a monumental task to find such candidates but it is a task that the political parties should strive to undertake so that only the best are chosen to represent the people in the legislative assemblies.

Dr.Chris Anthony


Anonymous said...

I fully concure with your opinion drchris. Men and women of calibre are hard to find. Political parties, especially established ones look to their 'loyal' supporters to select or to those who can 'buy' support.

One cannot escape the realities of Malaysian politics! If 'goats' can win just by using the party's symbol, then who cares about quality people? That is why Parliament and State Assemblies are zoos and circuses!

It was only this time round, that PKR started scrounging for people to stand that we got a few good characters! All parties should do that! Look for people of calibre and put them as candidates, even if they only joined a few months before the elections.

By victorchew46,

Anonymous said...

Right now the proposed anti-hopping legislations are not acceptable by both the ruling government and opposition and the reason is obvious. The election commission must introduce a law that any seat made vacant by an MP of Party-A must be filled by another representative from Party-A until the next general election. Having a by-election is a waste of time, money and human resources which can be put to better use to serve the rakyat.

The Perak Crisis made a mockery of our political system. Two MPs on corrution charges and a running-dog MP can change the government overnight. I use to boast to foreign friends how proud I am to be a Malaysian living in a peaceful and multi-racial country with a fair and stable government. But today when the subject of Malaysian politics crop up, I pretend [make don't know and act stupid] that I do not understand the topic and try to evade it.

By ngguanhuah, 16-Feb-2009

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