Getting rid of by-elections is a step backwards for Malaysian democracy, says Wan Junaidi

Datuk Seri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar

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By Lian Cheng

KUCHING, Dec 24: Santubong MP Datuk Seri Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar believes that doing away with by-elections is a setback for the progress of democracy and a tremendous U-turn on the part of Pakatan Harapan (PH) government.

Wan Junaidi was responding to the recent proposal by Electoral Reforms Committee (ERC) chairman Tan Sri Ab Rashid Ab Rahman to introduce a proportional representation (PR) electoral system for the general election, while the existing “first-past-the-post” (FPTP) system will continue to be practised in elections at state level.

Under a PR electoral system, by-elections will be a thing of the past as the system denotes that the candidate with the second highest vote will automatically take over should any parliamentary seat be vacated due to various reasons.

“If what is reported is true then the PH reformation agenda to enhance democratic practice in the country is going to suffer a serious setback and perhaps, another tremendous U-turn on the part of the PH government in their much flouted agenda on the enhancement of democracy in the country.

“This is not only a setback but a democratic haemorrhage at its worst. The PH leaders’ talk of democracy is nothing more then just a lip-service,” according to Wan Junaidi in a statement.

He alleged that PH has been manipulating the Malaysian democratic system to its favour.

“Democracy is only good if it’s in their favour. If not then it has to be demolished and destroyed. So much for demonstration and the paraded principle,” Wan Junaidi claimed.

He alleged that PH does not really aim its efforts at reformation but at retaining and sustaining power.

“Reformation is just a front and hoodwinks the people. In fact, they practise subjugation, where it is not even subtle subjugation but obvious subjugation if they are abolishing by-elections based on the present legal arrangement.”

Wan Junaidi believed the last four by-elections have proven that the people may change their minds about any party or candidate in any constituency.

“If a party or an incumbent is not performing or not up to the expectation of the people, then the people have the right to reject the party or the incumbent.

“A by-election is the right time for the people to express their opinion. The present legal mechanism provides for it where it is effective for people’s sovereignty to be manifested in any democratic country. We should not unnecessarily harness (sic) it any further.”

Wan Junaidi claimed many countries rejected holding by-elections on the grounds of cost, cumbersomeness, and disruption, but highly dynamic democracies wholly support the idea of people sovereignty to choose their representatives when the incumbent is non-performing.

“This new idea introduced by Ab Rashid is definitely regressing further from the political practice supported by highly democratic countries to embrace the principle of the sovereignty of the people,” he opined. — DayakDaily