The EC/SPR has joined the effort to stop or avoid a by-election in Penanti -and it called for a change of law to do that! The problems with such a suggestion are: the by-election in Penanti is for a good course-especially if it pressure more politicians facing charges of corruption to step down from their elected office to clear their position. Otherwise the government’s standing will be sullied by these suspected politicians. With such a good cause for by-election the avoidance of by-election in Penanti can only be for other reasons -such as the fear of defeat by a political party! Now: is that the EC’s role to cover up for a party? Isn’t it the role of the EC to maintain its neutrality and independence?
Secondly the the call to amend the law should focus on priority issues in legislative changes eg the issue of overspending by candidates. When a leading UMNO politician said that campaign expenses `contributed’ by others do not count towards the campaign expenses of a candidate the door of over spending is kept as open as before. If needed the election laws should be amended to stop such accounting abuse that make a mockery of the legal limit to candidates’ spending-which stand at RM100 000.00 for State Assembly seat and RM200 000.00 for Parliament seat.
Another priority area of concern is: a lot of public allocations and resources(personnel, building and funds) are abused for campaigning purposes. Stop this kind of non-sense and corruption-by changing laws if needed!
So there are so many areas that needs changing of the laws-to sing to the tune of the ruling party is the last thing that the laws should be changed!
Monday April 20, 2009(Star)
Amend laws to prevent abuse by political parties, says EC
PETALING JAYA: The time has come to amend existing laws to prevent abuse by political parties that force elected representatives to quit their parliamentary or state seats, said Election Commission deputy chairman Datuk Wan Ahmad Wan Omar.
He said the move by a wakil rakyat to vacate a seat to fulfil a party’s agenda should be discouraged as the cost of holding by-elections had become a burden to the country.
The commission will be meet on Wednesday to decide on the by-election for the Penanti state seat – the sixth by-election since the March 8 general election.
The seat fell vacant following the resignation of former Penang Deputy Chief Minister (I) Mohammad Fairus Khairuddin.
“If the seat is vacated on purpose for reasons such as personal problems, the rakyat should not have to bear the cost of having a by-election,” he said when contacted by mStar Online yesterday.
Wan Ahmad said the political situation had changed and certain quarters were abusing the weaknesses in the regulations by getting some elected representatives to quit for the sole purpose of calling for a by-election.
Under the current regulation, the commission must call for a by-election within 60 days of a seat becoming vacant regardless of the reasons.
Academicians, too, are calling for amendments to the Elections Act to check abuses.
Universiti Utara Malaysia College of Law, Government, and Interna- tional Studies Research and Post- Graduate dean Prof Mohd Mustafa Ishak said political parties that asked their elected representative to quit for no valid reasons should be barred from participating in by-elections.
Only elected representatives who were too sick to serve, or who have lost their moral standing in the eyes of the public, or was charged with serious offences should relinquish their posts, he said, noting that a by-election was inevitable in the event of the death of an elected representative.
Universiti Sains Malaysia School of Social Science Deputy dean Dr Sivamurugan Pandian said the democratic process should not be abused by forcing a by-election.
“Pakatan Rakyat should really think if it is necessary to vacate the Penanti seat. It is also a lesson for the political parties not to field just anybody.
“They must screen the candidate first,” said Sivamurugan.