Just because a party fear losing in a by-election the media has wiped up a frenzy against the `wastefulness’ of elections-what a feat by the main stream media who has been accused of dancing to the tune of the ruling parties! Actually with such unsatisfactory elections around what we actually need are better and more elections to improve our election performances. Actually we have much less elections experience than other countries because we have no local elections. So to turn the public against elections is a unwise move for the future of Malaysian democracy! We should be welcoming more elections to allow more citizens enjoy the `democracy dividends’ -to be showered with attention from the candidates during elections. That will set standards on politicians to handle their constituency! So elections are no `evils’ -they are acually, if appropriately evaluated, the beauty of a society’s democracy!
Saturday April 18, 2009(Star)
By-elections a necessary evil, say polls watch groups
PETALING JAYA: While it may seem to be a waste of public funds, by-elections are a necessary evil, said election watch groups.
Malaysian For Free and Fair Elections chairman Syed Ibrahim Syed Noor said by-elections are part of the democratic structure.
“I think it is costly but I guess that is the cost of democracy and it is the people’s right to vote. If someone died, we can’t just replace him with the next person,” he said, citing Bukit Gantang and Batang Ai by-elections as examples.
On the case of the Bukit Selambau and Penanti assemblymen who resigned from their positions, he said it was probably the “gentlemanly” way.
“It is part of the responsibility of the assemblyman. They didn’t brush aside the accusations but let the people decide.”
Syed Ibrahim, however, added that a by-election should not be used to assess the influence of a political party.
National Institute for Electoral Integrity executive director Amin Iskandar likened a by-election to an economic stimulus package for the local population as it brought more money for the people.
“A by-election helps Malaysians to be democratically more matured. Look at Sri Lanka, they have local elections every year,” he said.
Nevertheless, Amin believed that political parties should screen their candidates before fielding them in elections.
“Most Opposition parties didn’t expect to win and so picked a not so serious candidate,” he said, adding that costs for by-elections could be scaled down.
He said the Federal Government did not have to deploy so many policemen during the Kuala Terengganu by-election.
“I think it is unnecessary to have a policeman at every traffic light. We are not at war like Afghanistan,” he said.