Benefits of a ‘free-for-all’ general election

In the coming general election, a snap one or otherwise, I have this dream of seeing a free for all. It’s wishful thinking, I guess, but these are the stuff dreams are made off.

Should such a dream come about, we would no longer need to vote for clusters of groupings or self-serving individuals. Rather, we can choose who in our opinion, is the best person for the job.

No doubt it won’t happen but – if only, if only such dreams were allowed to become a reality – suddenly voting would not be along party lines. No one would be beholden to their party bosses. They would be answerable only to the people who voted for them.

That, in turn, would mean the principled person we picked, the person who in our opinion is a person of integrity, hard-working, committed and truly wants to serve his or her constituents will be the victor during an election.

But what are dreams without a happy ending? Just a dream.

That is why when people like Wan Saiful Wan Jan (who had abandoned Dr Mahathir Mohamad) boldly stated that Umno must make the biggest sacrifice to accommodate PPBM, led by Muhyiddin Yassin, at GE15, it is the hope of a dreamer, one that has to be taken with a pinch of salt.

No happy ending for this dream for certain.

Coming from someone who came in third in GE14 when he contested for the parliamentary seat of Pendang, Wan Saiful certainly has the nerve to dictate terms to Umno who are an institution. They have been around since the 1950s while PPBM is a mere 3-year-old toddler. But dreams are free none the less.

If such a dream of having a free for all ever became a reality, there will, unfortunately, be massive buying of the victors simply because this country has never had an anti-hopping law.

On the positive side, the wealth of the nation will be shared by hundreds of election winners as opposed to a handful of people who are required to make up a simple majority. This handful of mercenaries keep the incentive payoffs for themselves.

Instead of benefiting a handful, why not extend this opportunity to many others? Another positive? The coffers of the government will overflow from unsuccessful candidates whose deposits will be forfeited. It would be a windfall for the government but alas, it is but a dream.

What benefit, therefore, is there in a free-for-all? As it stands, PPBM, Umno, PAS, PKR and Amanah are all fighting for the Malay votes.

There is an understanding already between Umno and PAS (Maufakat Nasional). PPBM is not part of it. The other parties are opposition parties.

If there was a free for all, you might see five candidates fighting amongst themselves to see who is the choice of the people. Only the best will emerge the winner. The voters will be happy because they picked the one among the five who could best serve them.

Of course, this isn’t going to happen but no harm in wishful thinking and dreaming. Both are free.

Finally, with a free-for-all election, the opportunity to play the racial and religious card is considerably reduced. How to use such a strategy against your own community?

Martin Luther King once made a moving speech based on the theme I have a dream (the essence of which was based on equality and justice for all regardless of the colour of your skin). While such a dream might never materialise at all, it was none the less a dream that was food for thought. I too would like to expound a dream of a free-for-all GE.

But like the dream of Wan Saiful, I have to admit that it would be no more than a pipe dream.

Clement Stanley is an FMT reader.

The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of FMT.