This was the picture of the nomination day for the Malaysia’s 13th General Election on 20 April 2013. Except walk-over, Singapore’s GE in 2016 is unlikely to see many independents and the 5-million question.
In Singapore, more political parties, big and small, will send their members to contest in GE2016. So, walk-over will also be a history in Singapore too.
The Malaysian general elections only manage to have no walk-over for the first time this year, a history since 1950s. Again, Malaysian oppositions are ahead of us in first denying the ruling party two-thirds majority in 2008 and now walk-over. However, there are many independents, many small parties and many multi-corner contests, one as many as 7-concerned fight. Why? Has this got to do with the 5-million question?
So, what is the 5-million question?
[To curb defections that have been haunting the party post the 2008 general election, PKR has made it compulsory for all its candidates, at both parliamentary and state levels, to compensate the party with RM5 million should they jump to another once elected.
"After receiving the appointment letter, if any candidate withdraws before nomination (day) or jumps ship (after they have been elected), they have to compensate RM5 million to the party. (Therefore,) they have to sign an Akujanji letter," said PKR deputy secretary-general Steven Choong.]http://www.malaysiakini.com/news/227339
Oh! there are political frogs that see the opportunity and financial gain of jumping ship. And the price to pay is 5 million ringgits. Is this the indicative price for buying over a Member of Parliament or state assembly representative? It is not bad for an investment of an election deposit of RM10000 (federal) or RM 5000 (state). If you play the cards well and the luck is with you, you may strike a big sweep.
Who know even the deposit you may be able to find a sponsor as investor? The investment return is huge if the indicative price of RM 5 million is correct. Alternatively, the investment of RM 10000 or 5000 is small if you can deny the main opponents getting more votes.
Is RM 5 million a big sum of money in Malaysia? Yes and no, depending on your background. For the award of running the country again, what is the problem of investing RM 50 or even 100 million to buy over 10 or 20 MPs if they are for sell?
So, this 5-million question from PKR as deterrence may not look as effective as it is. When money can be used to make political gains, the situation becomes very complicated.
It is better we come back to the fundamental: political commitment and conviction. Believe in what you are fighting for not because of the money.
Otherwise, you have to do it the Singapore way: No more a party member, no more a MP. You participate in the election in the name of your political party. If you are no more a party member either sacked by the party or resigned from the party, you will lose your MP status. It is because you win the MP seat wearing your party colour. If you change your colour, you lose your seat. This is the basic reason for the 2 by-elections after GE2011.
Should we thank the PAP for amending the rules and regulations to have such a wonderful effect and killing the 5-million question? It is not sure why the PAP wanted to do that when they were the monopoly in parliament. Is this to make the party’s secretary-general or CEC more powerful?
In what way, can this ‘no jump ship’ law help the PAP continuing to be a dominant party? Perhaps, in the past it did help and prevent others for joining the oppositions or even (potentially) bankrupting a political party. Just imagine if there is a political party having troubles with the Registry of Societies like the case of Democratic Action Party in Malaysia, all their elected members will lose their MP seats if the party is forced to dissolve (if this happen in Singapore).
If assuming the oppositions win the election in Malaysia by a small margin, a dissolved DAP will immediately make the BN come back to power again if they have the Singapore way.
So, which is a better model? Singapore or Malaysia? It has to come back the fundamental of political commitment again.
People who stand for election must know what they are doing and what they are fighting for. They must know the political beliefs and ideology that they are campaigning and championing. No matter big parties, small parties or even independents, ask yourself why you want to stand for election and for what purpose?
The PAP wants to be a dominant party, having majority in the parliament. However, can they find enough committed individuals to carry out the political duties?