Actually I can give you more than one reason. But knowing that many Malaysia Today readers tend to focus on the ‘wrong’ part of the article rather than what they should be focusing on (just read the comments to see what I mean) maybe I should focus on just one reason. That is easier for most of the smaller brains.
NO HOLDS BARRED
Raja Petra Kamarudin
Now, look at the chart above and tell me what you see. Yes, that’s right, Malaysian elections are won through gerrymandering.
Okay, in case you are not sure what you should be looking at, look at the figures under the column ‘GOVERNMENT’ and compare the % seats and % votes columns.
Can you see that in terms of votes the Alliance Party of 1959, 1964 and 1969 and Barisan Nasional since 1974 till 2008 never really did that well? The best was in fact during Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s rule in 2004 when Barisan Nasional garnered 63.9% of the votes and again in 1995 (65.2%) just before the 1997 financial crisis and the 1998 political crisis that followed.
Nevertheless, even this did not give them two-thirds of the votes (66.67%).
The rest of the time, Barisan Nasional (or the Alliance Party) won only 50% to 60% of the votes (except in 1969 when they won less than 50%).
However, as you can see, it is seats and not votes which has been giving them the government time and time again. And, as I said, this is because of gerrymandering.
The Parliament seats vary from a mere 5,000 voters to over 100,000 voters. Invariably, all those ‘smaller’ seats are Barisan Nasional seats, in particular Umno, while the ‘bigger’ seats are those which Barisan Nasional has no hope of winning and which will certainly fall to the opposition.
Okay, to make you understand the issue better, it works like this. The opposition can win 100,000 votes and it will be just one seat. Barisan Nasional, on the other hand, also wins 100,000 votes but it will be two or three seats.
Now, that is why the opposition wins 50% of the votes but only 40% of the seats while Barisan Nasional’s 50% of the votes gives them 60% of the seats.
In short, dear readers, this means, based on the present system, the opposition will NEVER form the federal government because it will NEVER win more than 50% of the seats in Parliament (unless it can win more than 60% of the votes, which is quite impossible with that many phantom and postal votes floating around).
And this also means we need electoral reforms. We need a law passed that says the variance in Parliament seats should be plus-minus 20%. This means, if the benchmark for Parliament seats is, say, 50,000 voters, then the variance of 20% translates to 40,000-60,000 voters per seat (not 5,000-120,000 like now).
Only when this happens would the opposition have a fair shot at forming the next federal government. If not it will never happen (unless the opposition can garner more than 60% of the votes).
In some countries this is the law. Some countries make it law that the seats must be plus-minus 15%. In others it is plus-minus 20%. (In fact, in some countries the law says that not less than 30% of the candidates must be women). Only in Malaysia it is plus-minus 95% (gila babi sungguh).
So now you know why we need electoral reforms. And now you know why we need to march on 9th July 2011. And this is not about the opposition. It is not about Anwar Ibrahim either. It is about the rights of the people of one-man-one-vote.
If Malaysia had direct elections (like in the United States) to elect our Prime Minister, then Najib Tun Razak would never become the Prime Minister of Malaysia. Then, like in America, a non-white (in Malaysia’s case a non-Bumiputera) could become the Prime Minister.
Alas, in Malaysia we have a system that ensures the Prime Minister will always be someone from Umno and the government will always be an Umno-led coalition.
The next question would be: why bother to vote then?
Good question. I would urge you to vote so that we can see a strong opposition in Parliament and the emergence of a two-party system in Malaysia. That in itself is reason enough to vote. However, if we can see electoral reforms, then that is another matter. Then we can vote to see a change in federal government.
And that is why we need BERSIH and also why we need to support Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan. Electoral reforms will never happen unless the people make it happen.
And ‘the people’ are you and I. We can’t depend on just the politicians.
Don’t forget, at one point of time many now in the opposition were once in the government (and many now in the government were once in the opposition). And when they were in the government did they push for electoral reforms? Or did they take advantage of the unfair system to hold on to power and only now that they are in the opposition they make so much noise about electoral reforms?
Trust me, if the opposition takes over the federal government they too would not want to change the system. They will maintain the present system to ensure they remain in power. Why change the present system to one that allows an easy change of government? And many in the opposition who were once in the government exploited the present system and did not utter a word of protest until they found themselves in the opposition.
Then only they bising tak habis-habis.
Translated into Chinese at: http://ccliew.blogspot.com/2011/06/201179.html