All pro-democracy parties must seriously study the desirability and feasibility of a switch from FPTP to MMP after GE14

KUALA LUMPUR: Polls watchdog Bersih 2.0 today urged the Selangor government to introduce non-constituency seats (NCS) after it lost in its bid to challenge the Election Commission’s delineation exercise in Kuala Lumpur High Court.

Bersih 2.0 said that the NSC will function like the Party List-Proportional Representation (List-PR) component in the Mixed Member Majoritarian (MMM) system in countries like Japan, Korea and Taiwan.

This according to the election watchdog will mitigate the negative impact of malapportionment and gerrymandering and can also make politics more inclusive and stable in two other ways.

“NCS was proposed by the National Conference on Gender and Electoral Reform (NCGER) organised by Selangor women empowerment agency Institut Wanita Berdaya (IWB) last month as a means to introduce gender quota. The proposal wants all parties to dominate 50% women in their NCS candidate lists.

“First, parties that lose out in multicorners can still gain some representation. Second, NCS are allocated to parties, not individual candidates. Hence, it would make it harder to bring down a government by way of lawmaker defection,” Bersih 2.0 said in a statement.

The group further said that if nothing is to be done on the electoral system, the resumed constituency delineation exercise will likely result in not only the distortion, but even the denial of the Selangor electorate if GE14 is held using the new constituency boundaries.

In the statement, Bersih 2.0 heaped praises on Justice Azizul Azmi Adnan for his rigour, attentiveness and steadfastness in hearing the case.

It said that his action had allowed the shocking frauds and flaws committed by the Election Commission in the delineation exercise, alteration of polling districts and upkeep of electoral rolls to be examined and exposed.

“The Selangor suit gave hope that the EC is not above the constitution instead must abide by the constitutional provisions of Articles 113-117 and the 13th Schedule in conducting delineation exercise.

“Unfortunately, in delineation suits in other cases, the pursuit of justice has been rejected at the Court of Appeal stage, if not at the High Court stage. These judges claimed that the Election Commission (EC)’s delineation proposals are not decisions and therefore not subject to judicial review.”

First-Past-The-Post system

Bersih 2.0 also demanded for a change in First-Past-The-Post (FPTP) system.

It cited the example from the last election saying that Malaysia will slip into greater instability if elections keep producing minority government in term of votes, as in the last poll, where the ruling coalition won 60% of parliamentary seats with only 47% of votes.

“With the EC freed from constitutional constraints by the court, malapportionment and gerrymandering can only worse.

“The constitution allows a new round of delineation exercises, and everytime seats are added to the parliament and state assemblies. Seat increase will inevitably be exploited by any government with a two-third majority if their power is threatened.

“Bersih 2.0 holds that malapportionment and gerrymandering can be best stopped when the seats won by parties are determined by how many votes they get, not where they get the votes.

“This is the case under a pure List-PR system as in Indonesia and South Africa or a Mixed Member Proportional (MMP) system in Germany and New Zealand,” it said further.

The election body then urged all pro-democracy parties to seriously study the desirability and feasibility of a switch from FPTP to MMP after GE14.

“It is constitutionally possible for the states especially Selangor, Penang and Kelantan to introduce NCS as an interim measure. This would give us an electoral system that resembles MMM in countries like Japan, Korea and Taiwan, which is a diluted variant to MMP, but nevertheless much fairer and more inclusive than FPTP,” it added.