PETALING JAYA: Two MPs have dismissed a suggestion to do away with the requirement for a by-election to be held when a legislature seat becomes vacant during an electoral term.
Jerantut MP Khairil Nizam Khirudin of PAS said the current system should be retained.
He disagreed with a suggestion from the former Election Commission (EC) deputy chairman Wan Ahmad Wan Omar that the party that won the seat in the previous election should select a replacement.
Wan Ahmad said there would be significant cost savings for the government and political parties should by-elections be rendered unnecessary.
However, Khairil said a by-election would allow the voters another chance to make a new selection if they were not satisfied with the performance of the previous MP or assemblyman.
“Without this opportunity, voters would have to accept disappointment if the party did not deliver its promises, and they would have to wait for five years to make a new decision,” Khairil told FMT.
Tasek Gelugor MP Wan Saiful Wan Jan of Bersatu agreed, saying that allowing the incumbent party to unilaterally decide upon the replacement would stifle the voice of the voters.
He said empowering voters through by-elections was better than allowing the party to determine replacements independently.
“If a by-election is not held after a seat becomes vacant, then only a few powerful individuals within the party will have full authority to determine the replacement for the representative.
“Meanwhile, the voters lose their voice even though they may actually want to express their vote through the ballot,” Wan Saiful said.
Meanwhile, PKR central executive committee member Tan Kar Hing said the first-past-the-post electoral system used in Malaysia does not allow for such a proposal to be introduced.
“Our system involves parties and candidates. If we place full responsibility on the party, it may not align with the spirit of our election system,” he added.