Third force unlikely to bring about desired change: Analyst

PETALING JAYA: While the formation of a third force is a noble idea, it may not bring about the expected change, political analyst Wong Chin Huat said yesterday.

The electoral system expert said the next general election will likely see more fragmentation instead of a reconstitution of two stable coalitions.

With greater fragmentation, first-past-the-post voting will deliver more minority winners, Wong said on Prof Mohd Tajuddin Mohd Rasdi’s proposal that Pakatan Harapan (PH) join forces with civil society to be the guardians of Malaysians’ mandate.

Instead of having civil society leaders bringing a breath of fresh air to politics, Wong said the most urgent task is to professionalise the country’s politics and make political parties compete on policies instead of patronage.

“This is not about bringing more professionals into politics, but to make politicians a group of respectful professionals with both competence and ethics,” he said.

“They should know enough of policy matters, how to articulate issues, how to negotiate and compromise for the country to be properly governed.”

The professor at Sunway University said if politics remains a game of patronage and scheming, then even if more “good people” join politics, they will either lose in elections or eventually be corrupted.

Bersih 2.0 chairman Thomas Fann said bringing in a third force will upset the party’s power structures.

“It will end up as civil society actors becoming politicians within the party structure, negating their original intent as a third alternative force,” he said.

“Under the current system, I believe that the only viable third force is a strong and effective civil society that can influence public opinions and views, forcing contesting political parties to adhere to ideals and policies that would win them votes from the public,” he said.

Fann said the third force will have the influence but not legislated political power that comes with elected office.

He pointed out that to have influence over public opinion, the civil society must remain above partisan politics and uphold universal principles on democracy, rule of law and human rights.

“As such, Bersih 2.0 will not be part of any plan to join any political coalitions to win political power though we respect the rights of any civil society actors to contest and or join any political parties,” he said.

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