MAY 20 — An anti-hopping measure is long overdue in Malaysian politics. Allowing politicians to switch allegiances whenever they want is a mockery of the electoral process.
The Sabah state election of 1994 was damaging both to Sabah politics and voter confidence.
What point would there be to voting, many Sabahans thought, if the person they chose would just switch horses in the middle of a race?
Froghopping should have been outlawed after that but unfortunately our politicians think it a useful tool; unless of course, they are the ones to suffer from it.
Pakatan Harapan (PH) had the chance to outlaw party hopping but didn’t. Did they not learn from the Perak fiasco?
I am tired of politicians who seem to have no allegiance but to their own self-interests. We might call politics a game but the stakes are real.
A government should not be toppled while sitting except for extraordinary circumstances. The Sheraton move shouldn’t have been allowed to happen and it was not the politicians’ call to engineer a change in government.
What is the point then of voting if Malaysia is run like a dictatorship where politicians ignore mandates to install whichever party they want, regardless of whether they received enough public support?
Legislation to prevent hopping should be punitive. An elected official switches over? Immediate by-election as well as a fine, because by-elections are expensive.
Do it more than once (like a certain Sabah politician)? Ban them from politics for at least one electoral term.
Politicians are treated with kid gloves and given far too much leniency considering they are elected. Their mandate did not come from god, but the people.
Yet it is embarrassing how many Malaysians bow and scrape to politicians — kissing their hands, calling them “Baba” and other disgustingly subservient acts that forget the whole spirit of elections.
Most of the politicians who chose to hop over to the other side during the Sabah 1994 state elections saw their influence wane, and for many that choice effectively killed their political careers.
Yet in the 21st century, party hopping is done brazenly and with no fear of repercussion.
It’s fine to switch if you have not been elected and hold no position in the government. Once elected, however, a politician should serve and not participate in some grand Machivellian endeavour.
If a politician wants to demonstrate their seriousness to a cause, it is fairly simple: stick to a party.
Oh, the party’s principles do not align with your own? Perhaps you should have considered that before joining or even becoming a politician.
Demonstrating your lack of spine shouldn’t be something to reward but this is Malaysia where the reward for disloyalty is either a special post or a GLC placement.
At this rate we might as well include this warning on future ballots: “Warning: the politician you voted for may or may not have a spine but be prepared to be disappointed in any case.”
That way at least we still have some semblance of truth in the clown show we call Malaysian politics.
*This is the personal opinion of the columnist.