Party hoppers slap their own faces

It looks like a vote against their own betrayal of their voters. By saying aye, they have admitted that what they did was deplorable and cannot be tolerated by any decent electorate.

(FMT) – Many Malaysians are rejoicing at the passage of the anti-hopping bill in the Dewan Rakyat last week.

What has made many even happier and extremely satisfied is that the big party hoppers voted for the bill without debating it.

To some, it looks like a vote against their own betrayal of their voters. By saying aye, they have admitted that what they did was deplorable and cannot be tolerated by any decent electorate.

To name a few, they are Azmin Ali, Zuraida Kamaruddin, Edmund Santhara, Steven Choong, Larry Sng and Kamarudin Jaffar, who won their seats as PKR members.

Of course, the biggest bloc of frogs is in Bersatu. At least 15 MPs now in the party crossed over from Umno after the last general election in 2018.

It looks like they were giving themselves a tight slap for putting the nation in distress. Yes, the pain and misery they caused Malaysians by their nefarious political moves have set back the nation by one full term.

If, for some reason, the bill had not been passed, there would have been a possibility of a huge backlash from voters in the next general election. It is unlikely that the electorate is in a mood to forgive such politicians.

Despite some concerns that the law, passed in the Dewan Rakyat with a whopping 209 votes, has some loopholes that can certainly be manipulated by the likes of the above mentioned, there is some light at the end of the tunnel.

Basically, the most important is that the moment one ceases to be a member of any political party by way of quitting or being sacked, his seat becomes vacant, forcing a re-election.

However, the problem arises if a party member is sacked for standing up against any wrongdoing by his leader, which will not be fair. This is where all political parties must tweak their constitutions to ensure that such an injustice does not occur and give the opportunity for the wronged party to seek redress from the Registrar of Societies or some other body.

In any case, let’s give Pakatan Harapan and Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob a pat on the back for this achievement. Their memorandum of understanding has led to this major reform.

Yes, there are parts of the law which are challenging, but perhaps things will be resolved as the nation starts moving on with some semblance of stability after GE15.

For now, no elected representative can do things at his or her whim and fancy. Those who try can be assured that a lengthy court procedure awaits them and voters will punish them at the next election.

Against this heart warming backdrop, however, there have arisen some setbacks to darken the otherwise bright canvas. One of them is the case of about 200 Indian students with strings of As in their SPM examination results who have failed to get places in matriculation colleges.

Many Chinese students are also left out, but no figures are available as the government does not release such details for reasons best known to itself. It should, though, since the matriculation programme uses taxpayers’ money.

Ismail, the father of Keluarga Malaysia, needs to live up to his clarion call for unity and tolerance among Malaysians of all races by making sure that government policies do not break the hearts of students who worked hard for their grades but are let down by the unwritten racial quota policy.

But against this negativity, a recent Merdeka Center survey gives some hope for the future. It found that more Muslim youths today (66%) say that all Malaysians should be treated equally regardless of race and religion, compared to 39% in 2010.

This is heartening and we hope that those who practise political shenanigans will not change their minds by calling for Malay supremacy at any cost.

The survey also found that 93% of the respondents agreed that the people should have the right to free speech and 63% said that they should be free to choose matters related to their own life preferences.

The survey was carried out from Oct 30, 2021 to Jan 25, 2022. The respondents were in the 15-25 age group. It focused on Muslim youths in Peninsular Malaysia, Sabah and Sarawak and their needs, aspirations and perceptions of the country, youth development and matters related to Islam.

Although the survey involved only 1,216 respondents, I am choosing to believe that there is hope for Malaysia to move away from race or religious quotas not only in education but also in politics and all other spheres of life.