Weekly Highlights

Reform our electoral system, not gerrymandering.

Not long ago, PAS was a political party which stood for electoral reform. They were once the founding members of Bersih. Together with fellow Malaysians, they demanded for a free and fair election. Its President, Abdul Hadi Awang wore yellow shirt, walked with other political leaders, civil society and tens of thousands of Malaysians to make these demands. 

But today, PAS ugly two-faced hypocrisy is now being exposed. When they were in opposition, they wanted free and fair election, now that they are in government, they want to manipulate electoral system to stay in power. PAS Minister of Plantation Industries and Commodities, Mohd. Khairuddin bin Aman Razali had said that PAS would change parliamentary constituencies based on racial consideration, presumably to advantage their political ambition. 

PAS, especially Mohd. Khairuddin, have shown themselves to be disrespectful of the law. Mohd. Khairruddin flagrantly broke Covid-19 protocols and then caused a huge public outcry when he stubbornly refused to admit wrong. But I sincerely hope that PAS, being a party in government today, can at least review the report tabled by Special Select Committee on Electoral Reform in 2012. 

The Special Select Committee on Electoral Reform was formed in 2011 after the Bersih 2.0 rally.

The committee consisted of both government and opposition members of parliament. The report made many suggestions to improve our electoral system and the election practice, including, introduction of indelible ink, regulating political financing, a fair redelineation, strengthening Election Commission and researching a new electoral system. 

Unfortunately, most people remember only the indelible ink which was implemented right away in the 2013 General Election.

The report was sadly set aside thereafter and nothing much was done until when Pakatan Harapan (PH) took over in 2018. The PH government gave independence to the Election Commission and set up an Electoral Reform Committee with the mandate to review our current first-past-the-post election system, voters education, political financing etc. After the fall of PH, the Perikatan Nasional (PN) once again abandoned efforts for electoral reform. 

What Mohd. Khairuddin did was to turn the clock backwards, reversing efforts to improve democracy in this country. 

It is normal for a political party to want to win more seats in election. However we must win in a fair fight – not by manipulating the election to benefit certain parties, and definitely not by going against the spirit of the Federal Constitution of one-man-one-vote and fair representation by institutionalising racism into our electoral system. 

Mohd. Khairruddin is a government minister. His statements carry weight and have consequences.

Instead of trying to improve our democracy, he is now openly promoting the ideal of gerrymandering, using race and religion to manipulate the election. His action is not only a betrayal to the people who trusted PAS since its BERSIH days but also to all Malaysians in general.

As if launching the Langkah Sheraton coup against a democratically elected party and suspension Parliament are not already damaging enough for our democracy, PAS and Mohd. Khairuddin want to further destroy Malaysia with their anti-democratic ideology. 

Pakatan Harapan wins the 2018 general election.

The fact is, try as they may, PAS and Mohd Khairuddin should remember UMNO’s electoral defeat in 2018. Gerrymandering, money politics, draconian laws and anti-democratic policies did not save UMNO then and they will not save PAS today.

Wong Shu Qi

MP for Kluang

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