Saturday, May 18, 2013

Zahid Hamidi's Contempt of Malaysian Voters

Newly appointed Home Minister and UMNO Vice-President is doing his very best to block and jeopardise any possibility of Najib’s so-called “national reconciliation”

In a shocking article published in Utusan Malaysia, completely unbecoming of a Home Affairs Minister, Dato’ Seri Zahid Hamidi tells Malaysians who are not happy with the outcome of the 13th General Election to migrate somewhere else with an electoral system which suits their fancies.

In the article, he said that

Jika golongan ini mahu menerima pakai list system atau single transferable vote seperti mana yang digunakan oleh negara-negara republik, sepatutnya mereka berhijrah ke negara-negara berkenaan untuk mempraktikkan kepercayaan politik mereka.

Dato’ Seri Zahid gave the excuse that Malaysia has inherited the first-past-the-post system from the United Kingdom, which is also utilised in many Commonwealth states.

Malaysia mewarisi sistem politik daripada United Kingdom dan kebanyakan negara Komanwel juga menggunakan sistem first past the post yang mana parti-parti politik yang bertanding di kawasan pilihan raya memilih hanya seorang wakil bagi setiap kawasan pengundian yang mengambil kira prinsip undi majoriti mudah.

Therefore he argued that despite Pakatan Rakyat achieving 51.78% of the popular vote, our adopted system allows for a party or coalition with lower popular vote to win the elections.

Dato’ Seri Zahid fails in his argument on 2 separate counts.  Firstly, while the first-past-the-post system does indeed grant disproportionate allocations of seats relative to the percentage popular vote, our electoral boundaries have been excessively corrupted over the past decades.  The gap between the constituencies with the least number of voters such as Putrajaya (15,791) and Padang Rengas (28,518) and those with the biggest population such as Kapar (144,159) and Serdang (133,139) goes to prove that our electoral system is manipulated to give the ruling Barisan Nasional an unfair advantage.  One will not find such ridiculous discrepancies between constituencies in other advanced first-past-the-post democracies such as United Kingdom or Australia.

The evidence is also clear in the fact that the average size of a constituency which Pakatan Rakyat candidates won had 77,655 voters compared to only 46,510 voters for a typical BN constituency.

Secondly, the fact that we have an imperfect electoral system in place is exactly the reason why the people are speaking up and expressing their disappointment and anger at the system.  It is the reason why hundreds of thousands of Malaysians have gathered in various cities over the past week to demand a better electoral system, be it a fairer distribution of voters in all constituencies or a thoroughly revamped proportional representation system, or a mixture of both as practiced in certain other advanced democracies.  It is the right of ordinary Malaysians to demand free and fair elections.

Dato’ Seri Zahid in his article is in effect denying these Malaysians their rights for a system which will better able to reflect the wishes of the citizens of the country.  Such arrogance and contempt by the newly appointed Home Minister and the current UMNO vice-president points to the fact that UMNO-BN has no desire at all to seek “national reconciliation” post the 13th General Election.

His comments also points to the hypocrisy of the new UMNO-BN government which the Prime Minister has promised to be inclusive and “transformative”.  It is the same arrogance and hypocrisy which has caused BN to lose its 2/3 majority in 2008 and the popular vote in 2013.  Such arrogance and hypocrisy will only lead to one inevitable result in the next general election, that is the rakyat will vote overwhelmingly for Pakatan Rakyat to ensure that no amount of cheating and gerrymandering will stop the tidal wave from sinking the BN party.
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