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Could a new electoral system make politics more moderate?

SPECIAL REPORT | In order to encourage positive change to Malaysian politics, academics and activists have long suggested reforming the country’s electoral system.

Previous suggestions have centred around adopting a Mixed-Member Proportional (MMP) Representation system, similar to that used by Germany.

However, an alternative system aimed at encouraging political moderation has recently been suggested by an Australian academic.

The preferential voting system was proposed by Benjamin Reilly, a professor from the University of Western Australia, during a visit to Malaysia last month.

The political scientist, who specialises in electoral system design and reform, revealed that he shared his advice with the Electoral Reform Committee (ERC) on May 31.

"From the discussion we have been having with the Electoral Reform Committee, there doesn't seem to be a great deal of enthusiasm for major electoral reform to do away with the single-member district (system) that would require constitutional change.

"The reform proposal involving the preferential voting system could probably be done more easily, and without constitutional change," he said in a joint interview with selected media.

"It is a modification of the existing First Past the Post (FPTP) system, and in many ways, it would probably deliver a similar result, so it is not a big change, it shouldn't require constitutional change...

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