28 January, 2014
ELECTION LAWS SHOULD BE REVIEWED TO PREVENT ABUSE OF PROCESS
I refer to the resignation of PKR’s Kajang state assemblyman yesterday which had caused the need for a by-election. In July, 2008, the President of PKR Dato Seri Wan Azizah Wan Ismail also resign her parliamentary seat at Permatang Pauh to allow her husband to contest there. In April 2009, another PKR former Penang deputy chief minister Mohammad Fairus Khairuddin also resign his state seat at Penanti citing the reason to further his studies.
Under the current law, such as the Federal Constitution (Article 48(6)) and the provision of the state constitution (such as Selangor Constitution – Article 64(5)), a person who resigns his membership of the House of Representatives or Legislative Assembly of the State shall, for a period of 5 years beginning with the date on which his resignation takes effect, be disqualified from being a member of the House of Representatives or Legislative Assembly of the State.
The existing provision for such situation is clearly not comprehensive as:-
(a) it does not penalize an assemblyperson who does not wish to continue to contest as an assemblyperson in the near future; and
(b) it does not ensure that the party which the assemblyperson belongs to (save as for independent candidates), being made responsible for such resignation and thus, making the party more prudent in choosing the candidate in future.
As such, the Election Commission should take the appropriate steps to propose amendment to the Election Act 1958 (including other related act and regulations) as follows:-
(i) that there shall be a monetary penalty of RM100,000 (for State Legislative Assembly) and RM200,000 (for the House of Representatives) to those assemblyperson who resign his/her membership of the House of Representatives or Legislative Assembly of the State, save as by reason of death, illness or other conditions rendering the assemblyperson unfit to discharge his/her duties. However, if the resignation is by-reason of seeking a fresh mandate from the people for the assemblyperson to enter into another party or coalition, the monetary penalty should be halved; and
(ii) that the party which the assemblyperson belongs to, shall be disqualified from contesting at the constituency of the assemblyperson, for a period of 5 years beginning with the date on which the resignation takes effect. However, such disqualification should not prohibit other party within a coalition which the party belongs to contest at the by-election or that the resignation is by-reason of seeking a fresh mandate from the people for the assemblyperson to enter into another party or coalition
The aforesaid proposals should be considered in view of the series of events which are occurring lately which clearly abuse the democracy process in our country and wasting taxpayers’ money.