Time for recall elections, Selangor

Will Pakatan seriously address party-hopping?

So, if Pakatan Rakyat (PR) is serious and sincere about political integrity, this is what they should do: Propose an amendment to the state constitution to remove Article 64(5) — the anti-reelection clause — and introduce recall elections.

By Wong Chin Huat, The Nut Graph

THERE are those who cheered for Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s now infamous 16 September 2008 plot to take over the federal government by defections. There are also those who initially cheered the 10-day defection of Datuk Nasarudin Hashim (state assemblyperson for Bota, Perak) from Umno to Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR). But do these people now have the moral high standing to condemn the quitting of Port Klang state assemblyperson Badrul Hisham Abdullah from PKR to become a BN-friendly independent?

While some will try to argue that some defections are more moral than others, the truth is that defection remains defection.

At one level, every citizen — including lawmakers — must be allowed to freely associate and disassociate themselves with any organisation. Therefore defence for defection on the grounds of freedom of association is simply a red herring.

The real question at another level is: Can a lawmaker carry his or her mandate to a new political party? By analogy, if you decide to leave one street dance party for another party, can you carry the seat you were sitting on with you? Not unless the chair belongs to you.

Does a legislative seat — and the mandate it carries — then belong to a political party or the elected representative?

The answer really depends on the electoral system. If you are elected under the “closed party list proportional representation” electoral system, the seat is undoubtedly your party’s and you should be disqualified the moment you quit the party.

For our first-past-the-post electoral system, even the political scientists are somewhat divided. Some believe that voters vote for candidates while others think that the votes are heavily driven by party labels.

What to do when you are in doubt? Ask the voters.

READ MORE HERE: http://www.thenutgraph.com/