Keep first-past-the-post system, Tok Mat tells Electoral Reform Committee

SEREMBAN: The Election Reform Committee (ERC) should drop any proposal to introduce a proportional representation (PR) system to replace the current first-past-the-post (FPTP) method, says Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan.

The Umno deputy president, also known as Tok Mat, said if the PR system was implemented, there would be no more by-elections in the event an elected representative is disqualified, resigns or dies.

"This means the seat will be automatically be given to the party which won it previously," he said.

Mohamad said the proposed system also meant that party-less individuals, who wished to offer themselves as candidates, would not be able to contest.

"This not only violates an individual's right to contest in an election, but also violates the rights of the constituents in a particular area who wish to have their choice of an individual represent them in Parliament.

"I am also told that the PR system will not be introduced in Sabah and Sarawak, which will continue to use the old system," he added, saying it made no sense to have two different election systems in the country.

Mohamad said although he welcomed the ERC's efforts to better the country's election system, these should only be to further strengthen democracy.

"I am okay with reforms, but they should be reasonable and not completely change the current system.

"Any proposed change should only be to strengthen democracy and not to erode it or violate anyone's basic democratic right," he said in a statement on Saturday (Dec 21).

Mohamad said such radical reforms were unnecessary as the current election system had worked well post-Merdeka.

"The introduction of a completely new system will be counter-productive.

"And if this is being introduced merely to save the rakyat's money from holding by-elections, it makes no sense at all," he said.

Mohamad said any changes to be introduced must be transparent, take into account the local flavour and based on a system which had been in place for decades.

"I hope the government (Pakatan Harapan) is not proposing a new system simply because it is scared and worried after losing four by-elections.

"This is important because such changes are not at all reflective or in line with Malaysian democracy," he added.

Prior to this, ERC chairman Tan Sri Abdul Rashid Abdul Rahman had said that the committee was proposing that the FPTP system be retained for the state seats while the parliamentary seats would be decided by the PR system to ensure justice on the ground.

He said under PR, the party which got the highest total number of votes formed the government.

Rashid said if Party A got 60% of the total votes nationwide, it would get 60% of the seats in Parliament.

This, he had said, would ensure justice and survival for smaller political parties, with a minimum total of votes to ensure a party gets a seat in Dewan Rakyat.

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