Nazri Aziz: Shameful So Many Politicians Switching Sides

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Veteran Umno politician Nazri Abdul Aziz last night said it is shameful that so many politicians are switching sides and called for changes to the electoral system to curb the practice

Annabelle Lee/Malaysiakini

The Padang Rengas MP, who heads a parliamentary caucus on electoral reform, suggested that a party gets to keep a constituency that it won, even if the MP switches sides.

“My suggestion is do not follow states. We keep the 222 constituency but this time we contest on logo. If we contest on logos, for example, in Seremban DAP and BN. If DAP wins the seat, we have three names.

“Maybe one name is Anthony and the other two are his friends from DAP. That means if Seremban wins, the first name on the DAP list becomes parliamentarian.

“If the first name, he runs away from the party. The seat remains and the number 2 name becomes the parliamentarian,” Nazri said in a forum organised by electoral reform group, Bersih 2.0 last night.

He had made the suggestion earlier this month in Parliament.

DAP parliamentary whip Anthony Loke and political analyst Wong Chin Huat were also on the panel with Nazri.

Nazri also suggested that any party who won the popular vote be given extra seats to make it a more level playing field.

“We also need to recognise the popular vote. If Pakatan Harapan gets 55% and Barisan Nasional gets 45%, the (party with the) popular vote gets another 100 parliamentarians.

“Basically, bonus seats. These seats also cannot be changed to other parties, if not we will replace them (defecting MPs) with others,” he said.

Loke agreed that changes were needed to prevent politicians from abusing the system.

“We want to improve the current system so that a small group of people will not manipulate it,” he said.

The former PH transport minister said a seat was won because of the party and not because of the individual candidate.

“I think the key point here is that we win not because we are that great…we win because of our party logo.”

Wong said popular vote representation in Parliament was already practised in Germany and New Zealand.

He said Malaysia should model its electoral system after Germany with minor tweaks.

He also said a unity government was not ideal as it provides no checks and balances to the ruling party.

“If there is a unity government, there will be no competition. There will be no checks and balances. That will be the biggest problem. There will be no alternative for the people to choose,” Wong said.

Nazri also said it was shameful that politicians in Malaysia were switching parties as they were “betraying” the people’s electoral mandate.

“We have to stop this nonsense once and for all. I have contested six times. This is the first time there has been so many jumps. It has spread all over.”

PH collapsed after 22 months when several MPs, such as former PKR leaders Azmin Ali and Zuraida Kamaruddin abandoned the coalition.

They have now joined Bersatu.

Bersatu also pulled out of PH and formed Perikatan Nasional with Umno, PAS and GPS.

The bipartisan parliamentary caucus headed by Nazri will engage with stakeholders, including Bar Council, the Election Commission and academics, to prepare a report on the electoral system to be presented to Parliament. – TMI