LETTER | Vote for the person, not political party

Quah Wen Jun


LETTER | When Perikatan Nasional took over, most people cried foul over the matter. They said this is undemocratic because they voted for the Pakatan Harapan government during GE14, not this government. 

Although I understand where they are coming from, this is not how the voting system of our country works. It might be morally wrong, but it is not illegal.

Article 43(2)(a) of the Federal Constitution states that the Yang di-Pertuan Agong shall appoint as prime minister (PM) a member of Parliament (MP) who is likely to command the confidence of the majority of the MPs. This in essence means that PM is one who has the majority support of the MPs. 

There is no make mention of political parties because theoretically, parties are not important and do not serve the interest of the people. At most, political parties provide a guideline without guarantee, of who the potential PM would be.

There is a misconception that we should vote for a particular party or coalition during the general election so that they can win enough seats in the Parliament to form the federal government. 

People think this is how we prevent politicians from other constituencies that we don’t like from becoming part of the government. This misconception leads to dissatisfaction and uproar when an incident such as Sheraton Move happens. 

When you vote for a particular representative, you trust that he/she will represent you well. If it so happens that your representative ends up in another political party, you should not be aggrieved unless he/she stopped serving the people as well as before. Therefore, we ought to vote for the right person for the job instead of voting for the “greater good”.

During GE14 when many of us were hoping for a change in government, there were many comments on social media from constituents expressing their dissatisfactions over the choice of candidates by certain political parties in their constituencies. 

People would say things like “I would not have voted for you had you not been in XXX party” and so on. I understand that the mentality here is that in order to have a change in government, we must make sure enough MPs from the opposition parties are sitting in the Parliament. 

However, this is actually doing harm to the constituents in the long run. As I’ve said, the voting system is such that you are supposed to vote for the person who you think would serve your constituency well. 

If you vote for the person because of his/her political party, you might be successful in getting the government you prefer but what about your constituency?

Coming back to the voting system, if we cast votes according to the system, which is to vote for the representative you think would serve you best, there would be no issue as to what party he/she eventually belongs to in the event “ship jumping” or “katak” happens. 

Bear in mind that no one system is perfect. The power to directly elect the president like the US has its own issues as well. 

Regardless of who the representatives are, at the end of the day, if they serve the interest of constituents well, then they are good people’s representatives. 

Perhaps we should start voting for the person, and not based on his/her political party. Otherwise, just like the current situation, technically we voted for Muhyiddin Yassin’s government. 

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