Friday, November 25, 2011

Fix election date at the end of term

Snap elections waste of money and abuse of power

The most common topic of discussion in coffee shops today is the impending 13GE.When will the elections be held? Will the BN be able to regain its traditional two-thirds majority in parliament? Will the states ruled by Pakatan have simultaneous elections with the rest of the states ruled by BN? Will Pakatan be able to retain the four states under their rule? These are the questions that are being hotly debated these days. As the debate continues, so many uncertainties prevail causing more and more speculation among the people, which at times results in all sorts of rumours.

Although the next general elections need not be held till the 5-year term expires in March 2013, snap polls can be called anytime before that. That decision is the sole prerogative of the Prime Minister alone he alone will be able to tell the exact date of the polls and all others can only add more excitement and uncertainties by their wild or calculated speculation.

It has been a general practice in the past to have the parliamentary and state elections simultaneously. This saved the taxpayer’s money as having these elections separately would incur additional costs that would indeed be unnecessary. Separate state elections would also inconvenience the voters, as many of them may have to take leave from work and travel many miles to return to their constituencies to cast their vote.

Taking into account these considerations it is only proper for the states, including those ruled by the opposition, to have their respective elections simultaneously with federal elections. However the timing of these elections must be such that it should be towards the end of the 5-year period of governance and midway into the term. Moreover the date of elections too must be fixed so that all parties contesting will be equally advantaged.

In this era of enhanced communications and advanced political maturity of the people there is no place for snap or surprise elections for whatever reasons. The people have given the parties 5 years to rule and there is no reason why a snap election should be held much earlier than it is due. It will not only be a waste of money but it will also create much inconvenience to the people. It would be better for the ruling parties at both federal and state levels to work hard till the end of their term to fulfil their promises to the people at let the people evaluate their performance after that.

Premature elections are only necessary when the government of the day loses a no confidence vote in parliament or state assembly as holding such elections at the whims and fancy of one person will tantamount to abuse of power and an insult to the wisdom and maturity of the voters.

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