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The ethics of seat-vacating and party-jumping

COMMENT | It may not be illegal for a member of parliament to intentionally vacate his or her seat in order to allow another person to take the seat up in a by-election, but it is highly unethical. It also may not be illegal for an MP from one party to jump to another party after an election, but it is highly unethical.

It may not be illegal for Danyal Balagopal Abdullah to resign and vacate his seat as the MP for Port Dickson for party leader Anwar Ibrahim to contest in the by-election, but it is highly unethical. Sure, we know that the senior leadership of PKR had made the decision, but what about the people of that constituency? Were they asked about the decision?

Isn’t this the exact issue that everybody raises whenever an MP switches parties after an election so that the defeated party gets to form the government? Remember what happened in the state of Perak during GE12? Several Pakatan Rakyat assemblymen changed sides, and BN managed to form the state government.

Everyone made so much noise, especially Pakatan Rakyat, and they even argued that the actions of elected representatives to change parties after being elected into office be made illegal because the people did not vote for such a change. It is the same case when an elected official resigns and forsakes his constituents.

So yes, there are many people who are now crying foul that Anwar and PKR have decided to instruct Danyal to ‘sacrifice’ and vacate his seat. Danyal, of course, does not admit that he was instructed to so. He says that he will stay on to assist the constituents and not forsake the people who had voted for him.

In fact, according to a news report, Danyal even said that Anwar was reluctant and he had to convince him that this was a right move and that he would remain in Port Dickson to be Anwar’s eyes and ears on the ground. Yeah, sure. Like everyone is going to believe that wholeheartedly without taking a pinch of salt...

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