Nurul Izzah: Expect smaller voter turnout for GE15 as distrust of politicians deepened after ‘Sheraton Move’

(MMO) – Permatang Pauh MP Nurul Izzah Anwar has predicted a much smaller turnout of voters at the upcoming general election (GE15), despite the implementation of automatic voter registration and the lowering of the voting age to 18.

She ascribed this to the deepened distrust towards politicians after a series of defections after the so-called “Sheraton Move”, which had led to the collapse of the Pakatan Harapan government and the resignation of then-prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad after 22 months.

“I think it’s very important to manage expectations because in a post-Sheraton Move setting, there is so much disappointment and discontent as well as complete disconnect with politics.

“I remember hearing the feedback from Johor and Melaka voters, clearly this trend will continue because you are going to look at a lesser number of people coming out to vote,” she told Malay Mail in an interview recently.

The PKR lawmaker also cautioned her party and others in the Pakatan Harapan (PH) coalition that it is important to manage expectations going forward and convince voters to trust the power of their constitutional rights.

Nurul Izzah said that it is important for the party to reflect and “eat humble pie” while trying to convince the voters that PH is the right and better choice.

“Looking ahead is the [tabling] of the anti-party hopping Bill, I’m not sure if it’s going to be passed or not. But it has to be because we are going to have continued party hoppers if we don’t stop it,” she added.

Earlier yesterday, it was reported that de facto law minister Datuk Seri Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar told Parliament that 39 MPs have changed parties to date since Election 2018, causing political instability and jeopardising Malaysia’s practice of democracy.

He stressed that in matters of constitutional amendments, it is important for the government and the Opposition to unite to reassure voters their choice of elected representatives remain in their parties.

Yesterday’s special parliamentary session was called after the government proposed to add a new provision to the Constitution that would allow the enactment of federal laws to restrict freedom of association in relation to membership in a political party by elected representatives.

However, the Constitution (Amendment) Bill on Anti-Party Hopping which was scheduled to be tabled, debated and passed yesterday has been postponed to another special sitting.

In the debate session which was participated by 59 MPs, calls were made by several to abolish Article 48(6) of the Constitution and allow defecting MPs to contest as independent candidates in snap polls.