Proposal to EC on Perak crisis

It would be better if the three assemblypersons be allowed to resign and seek a fresh mandate from the people to switch party allegiance.

By Tan Keng Liang, The Nut Graph

ON 18 April 2009, I sent in several proposals to the Election Commission on amending election law. One of these concerned amending Article 48(6) of the Federal Constitution so that an assemblyperson who wishes to change allegiance to another party can resign and hold a by-election.

Article 48(6) of the Federal Constitution states: "A person who resigns his membership of the House of Representatives shall, for a period of five years beginning with the date of which his resignation takes effect, be disqualified from being a member of the House of Representatives."

There is a similar provision in every state in respect of state legislative assembly representatives; for example, Article 13(5) of the Penang constitution and Article 31(5) of the Perak constitution.

Currently, there is no provision in the Federal Constitution or any other law in our Malaysia that exempts the five-year ban.

Consensus before election

I do not agree with an assemblyperson being able to switch party allegiance without first obtaining the mandate from the people via a by-election. This is based on the principle of consensus before election.

As the assemblyperson was elected based on his/her individual capacity as well as his/her party's standing (or being independent, as the case may be), it is only appropriate that any switch of his/her allegiance must receive the consent of the people in the constituency.