Snap polls may result in hung parliament, says social activist

Social activist Chandra Muzaffar says an anti-hopping law should be enacted to compel MPs who defect from their parties to stand for election again.

PETALING JAYA: Social activist Chandra Muzaffar has voiced doubt that a snap election will stabilise the government since it is not likely that the winning party will get a comfortable majority.

“It may not solve the problem we are facing as we are not sure if any party will get a clear majority, causing elected representatives to be tempted to jump again,” he told FMT in a comment on Padang Rengas MP Nazri Aziz’s call for a general election once the Covid-19 crisis is over.

Nazri said fresh polls would end the “ping pong game” of claims of majority support between Perikatan Nasional (PN) and Pakatan Harapan (PH). Each of the two sides has been saying it has the support of most MPs.

Chandra said the election might result in a hung parliament or hung state assemblies, making crossovers likely.

Since taking over Putrajaya on Feb 29, PN has managed to capture Johor, Melaka, Perak and Kedah from PH. There is now talk of a possible collapse of the Sabah government.

Chandra said fresh polls would not give any guarantee of stability. “The uncertainties will continue,” he added.

He called for a law to compel an elected representative to stand in a by-election if he were to defect from his party.

“If you were elected and mandated by Party X and decide to leave the party for another or to become independent, there must be an election,” he said.

“You’ll have to return the mandate to the people. That is the right thing to do in a democracy to see whether people agree with your decision.”

Chandra, who is the president of the International Movement for a Just World, also said another general election so soon after the last one would be costly to the country.

But he said more forbidding than the cost would be organising an election in the midst of the Covid-19 crisis.

He noted fears recently raised of another wave of infections in Beijing despite China’s tough measures against the pandemic.

“The danger is always there,” he said. “We are not out of the woods yet.”

He said the virus could be transmitted during election campaigns, even if these were conducted from house to house.

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