Malaysiakini Letter

Why different rules for football and elections?

Ravinder Singh  |  Published:  |  Modified:

LETTER | If elections are a numbers game then it is the dirtiest game, at least in today’s democratic Malaysia.

If the same modus operandi used by the Election Commission to conduct our general elections were to be used in playing the highly popular game of football, what would happen?

Just imagine the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM), modifying the rules of each game to ensure that a particular team always comes out a winner.

How would this go down with the players of the other teams and the audience? How would the football associations in other countries look at the FAM?

In football, the rules are set by human beings, not by angels. Yet they are such that the winning team (say in 2018) is not allowed to change the rules for the 2019 games to create disadvantages for the opposing teams while giving itself all the possible advantages.

So if ethics, morality, decency, etc. does not allow a winning football team to change the rules of the following years’ games so as to remain, winner, all the time, why don’t the same standards of ethics, morality and decency apply in general election rules?

What makes changing the rules of football by the winning team to give itself advantage over its opponents not only unethical, immoral or indecent but also illegal while it is not equally unethical, immoral, indecent or illegal for incumbent politicians to change the rules of general elections so that the election game is not played on a level field, but on a field that gives all the advantages to themselves?

The repeated claims that the Elections Commission (EC) is an independent body that is impartial in carrying out its duties is mere eyewash. The EC is in the Prime Minister’s Department and thus under his direct control.

The EC gives its re-delineation report to the PM who is not just any politician but one who has a great vested interest in the outcome of the election.

He is president of Umno. There is no way he would table the report in Parliament if it did not favour him and his party. The ‘debate’ is just a show that allows the opposition to blow hot air. No parliamentarian from the BN would dare to criticise it or not vote to approve it.

And the EC has not a bit of ashamed to say through its re-delineation that one (1) is approximately equal to four (4) as BN friendly constituencies can be just one-quarter opposition-friendly constituencies although this totally violates the letter and spirit of the constitution that says that the number of voters in constituencies should be “approximately equal”.

Why should election rules not be drawn up like football rules or for that matter, the rules of golf, badminton, sepak takraw or any other sport? Why the different standards? Why can politicians change the rules of their political game (elections) while footballers can’t do the same?


The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.

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