KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 13 ― The contrite response from the ruling Pakatan Harapan (PH) after a recent viralled video of its Pengkalan Batu assemblyman Norhizam Hassan Baktee quarrelling with villagers over a road closure in Bukit Beruang, Melaka showed the growing power of politically-conscious voters.
Gone are the days when misbehaving elected representatives could escape unscathed, earning little more than a wrist slap from their political parties for unbecoming conduct in public.
Politicians in both PH and the Opposition Barisan Nasional (BN) were keen to emphasise that their parties have mechanisms to deal with errant lawmakers and that there are channels for voters to register their unhappiness or disagreement.
How PH deals with wayward reps
Amanah vice-president Datuk Mahfuz Omar told Malay Mail that his party keeps an eye out for any complaints on social media and news reports on errant party members, assemblymen, members of Parliament or those in leadership positions.
“Members of the public can lodge a complaint at any level: branches, divisions, state or party leaderships. The complaint should be lodged in the state where it happened. We also take note of media reports on our party members.
“And if the public has no idea where or how to do it, they can issue an open statement or an open media statement.
“However, if someone decides to publish an open letter, please print your name and contact details clearly so we can contact you if we need further information or clarification,” the Pokok Sena MP said.
He explained that after receiving the complaints, the Amanah leadership will usually advise and remind its party member on how to improve their conduct. In the very worst cases, Amanah's disciplinary committee will convene and take action against the recalcitrant individual.
PKR communications director Fahmi Fadzil said his party accepts all public complaints and refers them to its disciplinary committee for action, even if they were made to the party's top leadership or political bureau.
“Anyone can come and raise their complaints. We are quite proactive once we received complaints. Then we take action either to get clarifications based on the allegation and investigate.
“If we must, our disciplinary committee will conduct any kind of mitigation or rectification on the matter,” the Lembah Pantai MP said.
DAP lawmaker Zairil Khir Johari said his party’s procedure on complaints about its menbers is similar to PKR’s.
“The public can write to the party leadership or the state leadership. This has been done before when there were members of the public with grouses wrote to our central executive committee.
“The leadership will decide whether there are any basis and do the necessary, including investigating and getting clarification on the matter. If disciplinary actions are required we will refer the case to the disciplinary committee,” the Tanjung Bungah assemblyman added.
How MCA tackles public misconduct among members
The BN Chinese component told Malay Mail that the party's disciplinary mechanism is very “strict and fast and furious”.
“We have sacked experienced members and asked a president Dr Chua Soi Lek to resign,” MCA publicity spokesman Datuk Seri Ti Lian Ker said of former president Tan Sri Dr Chua Soi Lek who was caught in a extramarital sex video scandal.
He said it is usually the party’s presidential council or disciplinary committee that will carry out the due process to investigate and decide if any action is to be taken on members.
But he added that MCA is very open and that its disciplinary committee meets regularly to discuss party ethics and stem “untoward incidents” from harming its reputation.
“The public can file any complaint but we also have our network, we have our grassroot and our party outreach. So any member can lodge a complaint even on behalf of the public,” he said.