Time to change the electoral system

BARELY a month ago, I wrote a column about making every vote count by moving away from the current electoral system which is hinged on the first past the post (FTPT) model. It has found unlikely supporters in individuals such as former Election Commission chairman Abdul Rashid Abdul Rahman and former Dewan Rakyat deputy speaker Azalina Othman Said.

Gerrymandering is the essence of FPTP. Between 1959 and 2013, the vote share of the incumbent ruling coalition was between 47.4 and 65.2%. This vote share translated into 60-90% MP seats for the incumbent ruling coalition.

The FTPT requires a small number of votes to remain in power. In the 1959 general election, Alliances (UMNO-MCA-MIC) won 72% of seats with just 52% of the votes but comprising only 37% of the total registered voters. This number further shrinks as there are many unregistered but eligible voters. In fact, Pakatan Harapan (PH) did not came into power with majority vote in the 2018 general election. The division of Barisan Nasional votes by PAS put PH in power.

Historically, FTPT granted supermajority representation in Parliament from a small number of shares. Thus, ending separation of powers through allowing unilateral constitutional amendments and paving the way for abuse of power such as corruption, patronage and cronyism. The FTPT is extremely undemocratic as it does not represent the political aspiration of the people.

It is time to change the electoral system to be make it proportional towards vote share. However, Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) advocates that one-third of MPs should come from East Malaysia. – September 16, 2021.

* Sharan Raj is Parti Sosialis Malaysia central committee member.

* This is the opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of The Malaysian Insight.

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