Analysts split over call for MPs to contest under parties

PETALING JAYA: Political analysts have voiced mixed reactions to a suggestion by Umno man Nazri Aziz for the amendment of laws to allow MPs to contest under political parties instead of individual names in order to put a stop to the practice of party-hopping.

James Chin of the University of Tasmania’s Asia Institute said doing so would cause individuals to lose the right to form a government.

“Parties should not be the only ones allowed to contest as it would give too much power to party leaders instead of the individual MPs,” he told FMT.

“You need to have a system where both parties and individuals are allowed to contest.”

He added that MPs who no longer agree with their parties should be allowed to resign and carry on as independents.

Nazri, who made the suggestion in the Dewan Rakyat yesterday, said the move could also curb corruption as some MPs viewed such circumstances as an opportunity to sell their seats.

However, Azmi Hassan of Universiti Teknologi Malaysia said he saw no urgent need for the amendment of the relevant laws.

“Politics is dynamic in nature,” he said. “Representatives should be able to arrive at political decisions freely and not be bound by party ideologies.”

He added that implementing Nazri’s suggestion might force MPs to prioritise party needs over those of their constituents.

But Bersih chairman Thomas Fann welcomed the proposal, saying it would put an end to the collapse of governments due to party-hopping as seats would belong to political outfits.

He also said the amendment would cause the electoral system to change from the first-past-the-post system currently in use to a party-list proportional representation or List-PR system.

“Under List-PR, voters just need to choose the party of their choice while parties need to submit a list of their candidates in order of preference.”

He said the political landscape, too, would change.

“Based on their vote-share and number of seats won, parties will form a coalition that commands the majority in Parliament.

“This would promote more consensus-based decision-making among the parties.”

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