Time for Malaysia to implement fixed general election dates, says Sabah youth group

KOTA KINABALU: Malaysia should consider setting a fixed date for the general election after each five-year term of Parliament ends to avoid disruption of government programmes in place, suggests a Sabah youth body.

Sabah's Federation of Interior Youth Associations (Gabungan) said that a fixed five-year term for Parliament and also state assemblies would ensure that snap and unscheduled elections would not disrupt the country's development plans.

Gabungan chairman Mazlan Joehari Manan said that setting the election date automatically after the completion of the five-year mandate will also reduce the risk of "political games" by certain parties.

"If the proposal is implemented, it will not only save the cost of expenses, but also give the Election Commission a sufficient period of time to make any preparations to hold the election," he said in a statement Monday (Oct 3).

He said the system would also be clear and would benefit the government to implement any plan for the people and country in the five-year period compared with the democratic system that allows for elections to be held at any time within the five-year term.

"In these modern times, there are new challenges facing the world. It is time for Malaysia to introduce a fixed term election system.

"This will allow for a more systematic election and make it easier for the government and the people to carry out their plans for the country and people within the period," he added.

"Elections for Parliament and state assemblies should only be held when the government's term expires," he added.

He said by-elections should be allowed for cases where the incumbent has died, resigned or disqualified according to the law.

"This system will also be able to avoid sudden elections based on political 'games' and 'interests'," he said, while adding that the benefits of the system can ensure that the people are better prepared to face elections with a date and period that has been set under the Constitution.

Mazlan added that most other countries, especially developed countries, have used such fixed terms to allow the people to choose a government for their country.

"It should be remembered that this election is to give the people an opportunity to choose their leader and government for a set period.

"Because of that, it is very inappropriate and arrogant if the election is held for the sake of party politics at a time when the people are going through many difficulties after Covid-19.

"All political leaders from all over the country should consider fixing elections only when the term of Parliament ends," he added.

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