The change of state government in Perak will attract numerous commnetaries for a long time-not least on 1 issue: how far do elected representatives speak for the electors? Quite certainly, being humans, elected representatives could spare some time to speak for their own personal interests-as could have happen in some/all of the 4 defection cases in Perak. What recourse do the voters have to counter the possible self-seeking actions by the elected representatives under the Malaysian representative democracy?
To cater for such need some countries (US, Philippines) have a law for recall of elected representatives provided that a certain significant amount of voters eg 10%, sign a petition to make a request for a revote for the position. But we don’t have such provision in Malaysia. So: does it means that it is legal for elected representatives to indulge in self-seeking during their term of office-subjected only to the voters’ review at the end of his/her term of office?
It may seems so.
To be frank: actually the law also never require elected representatives to speak for the voters at all!
The elected representatives are not required to see their voters, speak to them, answer their questions etc, under the law. It is not uncommon that elected representatives disappear after being elected, only to resurface before the next elections.
But there is nothing to stop the voters to pressure the elected representatives to speak for them. It is the job of people’s representatives to speak out for the people’s interests, as voters understand the deal between them and their representatives.
The people should not be put off by non-performing representatives’ disappearing acts and other antics. The voters can mount criticisms of their representatives in the media, in the public forums etc to monitor and evaluate the representatives’ performances.
So what does it means for the situation where elected representatives choose to defect against the voters’ wishes? To enforce the deal between the voters and their representatives the voters can by all means start knocking on the representatives’ doors-their office or their home. They can highlight the discrepancies between the voters’ wishes and the sellouts made by their `representaives’ so that these reps won’t be able to get reelected come the next occasion for the voters to exercise their vote.
That is only fair.