Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Enough of unethical political game

Party-hopping must stop

THE recent political maneuverings in Perak for power has thrown the state into chaos that may take along time to recover. It is unfortunate that this political turmoil comes at a time of economic uncertainties. Instead of pooling all the resources to combat the coming recession our politicians have regrettably decided to embark on a political power game to take control of the state. Their actions reflect the quality and integrity of our elected representatives.

From what we are witnessing it appears obvious that party hopping by elected representatives is not only immoral and unethical but a highly corrupt practice as well, which the people are getting fed up and frustrated. A Member of Parliament (MPs) and state assemblymen crossing over to another party, although is wrong, is nothing new in Malaysian politics. You can call it whatever you want, cheating, disloyalty, betrayal or treachery, but it has been an established practice.
As usual, those who tend to lose claim it is wrong but those who benefit say it is perfectly all right as long as no monetary inducements are involved. They will go all out to justify their actions are in the interest of their constituents whom they serve.

Our MPs and state assemblymen are voted based mainly on the party to which they belong and less so on their individual qualities and merits. Therefore crossing over to another party after being elected is definitely not right and is morally wrong. It not only amounts to betraying the voters who have elected them but goes to show a lack of integrity and credibility on the part of the defector. It would only be right of them to return to their constituents to seek a fresh mandate to continue representing them if they want to defect to another party even their intentions are sincere and genuine.

It is time to introduce laws to check this practice of party hopping to protect the interest of the voters. It would be appropriate to declare a seat vacant and call fresh elections once its MP or state assemblyman crosses over to another political party.This would not only help check defections but also put pressure on the parties to be more stringent in the selection of their candidates.

MPs and state assemblymen are lawmakers who represent the people’s interests in Parliament and the State Assemblies. Their deliberations and debate on policies to be formulated will decide the present and shape the future of the nation and its citizens.

It is therefore of paramount importance that only those of high integrity and credibility are selected to be our wakil rakyat. There are no short cuts to winning the hearts of the people other than hard work, dedication and sincerity.

It is important for our wakil rakyat from both the ruling and opposition parties to get their priorities right. They must stop this political game for now, put aside their differences and unite to formulate sound and viable policies to steer the nation out of the economic tsunami that may hit us hard in the coming months.

Dr Chris Anthony

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